El Círculo Caminaba Tranquilo Exhibit – Deutsche Bank with MAMBA Posted on 14 Aug 03:13 , 0 comments
Article by Anna Lowe.
It may sound rather implausible but in the basement of MAMBA, two floors below the grey, grimy streets of San Telmo, lies a snowy, dreamlike landscape. This smooth sanctuary is the work of Brazilian set designer Daniela Thomas and architect Felipe Tassara who have worked with curator Victoria Noorthoorn to produce the exhibition El círculo caminaba tranquilo, ‘The circle walked casually’. The show, first displayed at the Deutsche Bank Kunsthalle in Berlin, is a sample of 180 drawings from both the extensive Deutsche Bank Collection and the MAMBA’s own holdings.
The exhibition design is so strikingly different it’s worth a visit for the spatial experience alone. You enter a gleaming, cotton-white room whose boundaries seem to melt away at the edges and confound the sense of space. Here works hang in a twisted spiral and are indirectly lit from above, thus appearing to float in the shadowless space. The weaving line of these colourful images enables viewers to physically experience the two main features of drawing – space and line. This design was inspired by the short story Genealogy by Uruguayan writer Felisberto Hernández which begins ‘Once upon a time there was an endless horizontal line in space…’. Here our line leads us through a century of drawing, extending from modernism to the 21st century with works by Otto Dix, Joseph Beuys, Kara Walker and Pierre Mondrian, and more ‘local’ artists such as León Ferrari and Alberto Greco. While paper works are often overlooked and underestimated in favour of the canvas, here the medium’s simplicity and precision is celebrated. As architect Thomas explains, “The delicacy of the drawings, which might otherwise be overpowered by a conventional hanging in a museum or a gallery, becomes a total visual pleasure; there is nothing to distract … from the essential.”
Complementing the dynamic physicality of this exhibition, Noorthoorn has selected works with refreshingly free and inquisitive artistic interpretation. Moving around the space we are presented with dramatic jumps that mix artists, techniques, genres and disciplines. Yet through this clever curation, surprising and provoking parallels emerge between artists. For example, the first few works deal with loneliness and solitude. A 1981 nude study by the Argentinian Héctor Giuffres from the MAMBA collection evokes melancholy similar to that of Käthe Kollwitz’s charcoal sketch Frau, auf einer Bank sitzend (Woman, sitting on a park bench) from 1905. In another section of the display abstract colour studies by Katharina Grosse transition smoothly into Gerhard Richter. And another interesting relationship is the works of Argentine Eugenia Crenovich (painting under the pseudonym ‘Yente’) whose geometric art stands strong beside giants such as Mondrian and Josef Albers.
In El círculo caminaba tranquilo, Noorthoorn dispenses with traditional exhibition display and liberates the art from chronology and labeling. This powerful decision has allowed the subtle drawings to speak directly to one another and to the viewer – encouraging us to make our own artistic associations. As a Brit living in Buenos Aires it appealed to my sense of travel and discovery. I followed Noorthoorn’s breadcrumb trail and saw how artists from different times and places have reflected again and again on the human condition. Inside the serene safety of the little white cloud I was drawn into restorative introspection and imagination.