KIAF 2017

21.09 – 24.09

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Carlos Aguirre, Laurent Martin ‘Lo’, Javier León Pérez, Maria García Ibañez and Ventoso

Puerta Roja returns to KIAF for the fourth year, presenting works by an outstanding roaster of Latin American and Spanish artists led by Carlos Cruz-Diez, one of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st century. Cruz-Diez is no stranger to Korea since the installation of his Physichromie at the Olympic Park and Spirale Virtuelle in the Korean Folk village in Suwon-si. He has held solo exhibitions at the Dream Forest Art Centre at the Sang Sang Tok Tok Gallery in Seoul. Most notably he had a greatly acclaimed show at the Jeonbuk Art Museum in 2012 and participated in Spatial Illumination – 9 Lights in 9 rooms at the Daelim Contemporary Art Museum. Puerta Roja will also present a new series of mobile bamboo sculptures by Laurent Martin “Lo” who will be flying from Spain for the occasion. The artist work was extremely well received last year, with all works sold out to prominent Korean collectors by the second day of the fair.  The booth will showcase Carlos Aguirre, one of the pioneers of conceptual art in Mexico, and three rising artists Javier León Pérez, María García-Ibáñez and Ventoso.

The highlight of this year’s participation will be the vibrant works by the internationally renowned Franco-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. Dedicating his life to the rigours research of colours, lines and perception, Cruz-Diez is one of the most influential artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The artist is recognised as one of the founders of the Op-Art and Kinetic Art movements of the 1950s. New works from Physichromie, the artist’s most complex and celebrated series, will be presented at the fair. Cruz-Diez began the series in 1959, using three-dimensional strips on a two-dimensional surface. Colours oscillate from one chromatic range to another, creating a kinetic experience in accordance to the viewers’ movement around the piece. The mathematically precise vertical bands harness the phenomena of colour reflection and interference to re-create mesmerising effects seen in nature. He also uses mechanisms of isolating and exaggerating colour by means of contrast and harmonisation which is used not only in this series but throughout his work. From observation and investigation into the wonders of colour, Cruz-Diez generates virtual colours, present in the eyes of the viewer but not in the physical support.

Cruz-Diez is part of more than 60 major museum collections worldwide including MoMA, Tate Modern and Georges Pompidou. His work has been well appreciated in Asia Pacific since 1988 when Physichromie Double Face was installed in the Olympic Park in South Korea. In 2001 the Spirale Virtuelle was installed in the Korean Folk village in Suwonsi. He has held multiple museum exhibitions, most notably the touring solo exhibition Circumstance and Ambiguity of Colour, across Asia in many national museums and leading galleries. The show was exhibited at Sang Sang Tok Tok Gallery in 2011 and to the great acclaim at The Jeonbuk Province Art Museum in 2012. Most recently, he also participated in Spatial Illumination – 9 Lights in 9 rooms at the Daelim Contemporary Art Museum. The artist has also executed numerous high profile public commissions and exhibitions in Australia, China, Japan, and Taiwan.

As one of the pioneers of conceptual art in Mexico, Carlos Aguirre has been exhibiting thought-provoking and socially conscious work for over 35 years. Over this time, the artist has produced a wide-ranging and dynamic range of works, resulting from a practice that incorporates three core elements: social, linguistic and material. Unlike many conceptual artists, the “idea” does not take precedence over the aesthetics and process of creation, on the contrary, they are vital to conveying the artist’s intent. From his background in design, Aguirre employs typography, graphic communication and material experimentation to eloquently address complex social issues. Experimentation lies at the heart of Aguirre’s creative process—the artist is constantly learning by means of trial and error with new materials and techniques. Whether the work untangles social structures, makes political statements or is simply a result of artistic investigation, Aguirre teases our minds to develop our own interpretations and reveals our own contradictions.

Aguirre has represented Mexico in different Biennales such as Paris, Sao Paulo and Havana. He obtained the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996 and has worked extensively in solo projects for some of the most prestigious contemporary art museums in Mexico, including MAM (Museum of Modern Art), MUAC (Contemporary Art National University Museum) and Museo del Chopo.

Juxtaposing works by the two pioneers will be the mobile bamboo sculptures by Spain-based French artist Laurent Martin ‘Lo’. Lo’s bamboo sculptures immerse the viewer in the physical and sensorial virtues of the organic material. Closely bound to the forces of nature, Lo’s bamboo sculptures follow strict mathematical laws of balance and movement. His creations are gravity-defying, swinging in the air and drawing curves of harmony like the gracious strokes of Chinese calligraphy.

Lo developed deep insight and knowledge into bamboo’s properties and craftsmanship through his travels to Southeast Asia including Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Taiwan. His exquisite bamboo creations are well appreciated internationally as well as the Asia Pacific Region. Lo was recently invited by the National Taiwan Craft Research and Development Institute to participate in the Bamboo Traces Contemporary International Bamboo Art and Craft Exhibition. This exhibition is a worldwide collaboration project, gathering artists and designers from many different countries and cultures, exploring bamboo, a traditional material in Asia, from a modern context. His works have also been acquired by prominent collectors including Hong Kong renowned architect and collector Mr. William Lim.

As well as being well received across Asia, Lo’s bamboo sculptures were particularly prominent last year at KIAF. All of the works exhibited were acquired by prominent Korean collectors by the second day of the fair. For this year’s edition, Puerta Roja is bringing an even wider and further developed collection of Lo’s works as a result of his extreme popularity. The artist will also be present during the occasion.

In tune with Lo’s mobile bamboo sculptures will be the meticulous sculptural paper works by Spanish artist Javier León Pérez. In his stunning three-dimensional works, small elements of carefully cut Japanese paper overlay and interweave gracefully with each other. By repeating detailed processes, endlessly, fractal patterns emerged. Here the eyes are hypnotised by the flowing movement that entwines the macro and micro perspective together. These works have boundless interpretation, invoking associations to landscapes, tree roots or veins. In fact, this is because León Pérez’ extremely personal creative process follows the same structure as the underlying order of nature, as reflected in its organic forms. This concept has many parallels with the philosophical idea of Li (理), a concept found in Neo-Confucian Chinese Philosophy.

León Pérez is the recipient of numerous awards in Spain and his work on Japanese paper was recognised in the Paper Biennial of Contemporary Art at the Museum Rijswijk in the Netherlands, and the Biennale of Contemporary Art Lalin in Spain. León Pérez’ works have been acquired by important Spanish collections, including La Caixa Foundation and DEARTE, and by prominent collectors in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Philippines and Korea.

Another rising Spanish artist, Maria García Ibañez, displays a simplicity of lines, purity and elegance that almost betrays the deep discourse and moral dilemmas that are embodied. García Ibañez explores the hidden beauty beneath the elements, dissecting them and then reconstructing their essence and layers with a deeply feminine aesthetic. María’s works reflect a marriage, a reconciliation between science and aesthetics, contemporary digital techniques and traditional craftsmanship, the views of the old and the ‘new’ worlds, the anatomical construction of the human body and its soul, strength and vulnerability.

García Ibañez has participated in a number of cultural projects and has held solo and collective exhibitions in Asia, Europe and Mexico. As a young artist, she was recognised and broadly supported with several production grants including the residence grant for creators from Ibero-America supported by the main Cultural Councils and Foreign Affairs ministries of Spain and Mexico.

Argentinean artists Ventoso are the new generation of optical art. Rooted in the spirit of geometric abstraction masters of the 20th century, the works by Ventoso intend to solve visual strategies that deal not only with spatial or assembly concerns, but also with the experience for the viewer that every piece carries within. Ventoso is a family artistic collective formed in 2006. Abel, an architect, along with Héctor and Jorge, engineers by profession, have searched together for a unique mean of artistic expression. The collective’s work, based on abstraction, seeks to emphasize the formal aspects of art through an autonomous language manifest­ed in the proposal of visual and tactile experiences. The rigor­ously programmed geometrical compositions, which are the fundamen­tal constant in the collective’s plastic language, generate refined and personal aesthetics of volumetric games.

Since 2007, Ventoso started to build an international following, particularly in Latin-America and the USA.  In 2016, their work joined the permanent collection of Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles. In addition, the collective would show in Paris at Gallery René Denis, solidifying its place as a worthy progeny of the great Op Art masters from Argentina, and for the first time in Asia with Puerta Roja in Hong Kong.