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Major Guillermo Kuitca Retrospective to Premiere at Miami Art Museum October 2009

MIAMI.- In October of 2009, Miami Art Museum will premiere the first comprehensive U.S. survey of the work of Argentine artist Guillermo Kuitca in more than fifteen years. Everything: Guillermo Kuitca will trace the evolution of Kuitca’s work through more than 50 canvases and 25 works on paper, spanning twenty-five years of the artist’s career. The exhibition will also feature the installation of a large-scale piece comprised of 52 painted mattresses, on view in its entirety for the first time in the United States.

Everything will open in Miami October 9, 2009, and will remain on view through January 17, 2010, after which it will travel to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. The exhibition was organized by Douglas Dreishpoon, Chief Curator at the Albright-Knox Gallery, in collaboration with the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and Miami Art Museum. Major funding is provided by the Bruce T. Halle Family Foundation with additional catalogue support from Fundación Cisneros and the Leadership and Honorary Patrons Committees for the exhibition.

Guillermo Kuitca explores themes of dislocation and the intersection of public and private spaces through works ranging from early paintings of theatrical scenes, to complex abstractions which reference maps and architectural plans. “Kuitca’s work is of particular relevance to MAM and the Miami community, and we are pleased to present our second exhibition of his work,” said Terence Riley, MAM Director. “Often drawing inspiration from maps, Kuitca challenges geographic borders both literally and figuratively. This approach resonates with MAM, which serves as a hemispheric hub for art from across the Americas.” Kuitca was the chosen representative of Argentina at the Venice Biennale in 2007, where he was one of only three artists with work on view in both a national pavilion and in the central international Biennale exhibition. The artist’s work was previously on view at the Center for Fine Arts, which later became the Miami Art Museum, in the 1995 exhibition Burning Beds Guillermo Kuitca: A Survey 1982-1994.

Dating to the early and mid-1980’s, the earliest works in the exhibition were inspired by Kuitca’s experiences as a theatrical stage director in Argentina, with titles often drawn from plays, literature, and popular music. Works such as El Mar Dulce and Siete Ultima Canciones, both completed in 1986, are reminiscent of stage sets viewed from a distance, with tiny figures acting out mysterious and disturbing dramas. Themes of absence and disappearance emerged in subsequent works of this period, which depict overturned chairs, sullied beds that appear to be on fire, and a microphone on an empty stage.

Kuitca’s works of the late 1980s and early 1990s explore architecture and topography, as well as domestic and communal spaces. The floor plans of public institutions (the “Tablada Suite”), geographical maps (the artist’s “map” paintings on canvas and mattresses), and genealogical charts (the “People on Fire” series) begin to serve as important references during this period. Though these works infer human interconnection and spaces which are normally occupied by large groups, the human figure remains notably absent.

Kuitca further explored organizational systems throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s. In Neufert Suite, 1998, a series of paintings, and L’Encyclopédie, 2002, a series of works on paper, he references an architect’s handbook and the work of French philosopher Denis Diderot, who attempted to condense the whole of human knowledge into an encyclopedia. In his series of drawings titled Global Order, 2002, Kuitca fuses a map of the world with building plans for domestic spaces, identifying borders and notions of “place” as the changing products of human invention.

Since the late 1990s, Kuitca has created both large and small scale works on paper which investigate and deconstruct his painted works. Continuing his investigation of mapping, Kuitca based a 2007 series on seating charts from renowned performance spaces such as the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Kuitca selectively edits information from these charts in an electronic format before printing them. He then further alters their appearance and meaning by subjecting them to different water treatments which alter the printed image. The resulting works are surreal abstractions, whose pictorial elements have migrated across paper. Everything will explore the relationship between these recent works, which court accident through the use of procedures with unpredictable results.

The exhibition will feature a work of particular significance to Kuitca which has long been displayed in the artist’s home. Untitled, 1992, is a configuration of 52 painted mattresses on bed frames, on loan from the artist’s personal collection. These small children’s beds will be positioned on the floor throughout the gallery, in an arrangement customized for each venue. The piece will be installed alongside The Ring, 2002, a five-paneled painting inspired by Wagner’s epic opera of the same name.

Everything will also include Kuitca’s canvas Mozart-Da Ponte VI, 1996, from Miami Art Museum’s permanent collection, as well as two works included in the 2007 Venice Biennale, Desenlace I, 2006, and Desenlace IV, 2007.

Based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Guillermo Kuitca (born 1961, Buenos Aires) has garnered international attention since the mid-1980s. His first solo exhibition at age thirteen took place in 1974 at Lirolay Gallery in Buenos Aires. In 1985 he represented Argentina in the XVIII São Paulo Biennal. His work was first seen in the United States in a group exhibition at the Americas Society in New York in 1989, New Image Painting: Argentina in the Eighties.

In 1990 he began to exhibit internationally and had solo museum and gallery shows in the Netherlands and the United States, which included a “Projects” show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1992. Also that year, his installation for Documenta IX of “map” paintings and a large installation of “bed” sculptures brought him significant international attention. Since then Kuitca has had solo exhibitions at the Instituto de Arte Moderno (IVAM) in Valencia, Spain (1993) and Burning Beds: Guillermo Kuitca, A Survey 1982-1994, which was organized by the
Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, and the Contemporary Art Foundation, Amsterdam in 1994. In 1999 he exhibited at the Centro Hélio Oiticica and in 2000 at the Foundation Cartier in Paris.

The most recent survey of Kuitca’s works, covering the period 1983-2003, was organized by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, and traveled to the Museo de Arte Latino Americano, Buenos Aires (MALBA) in the summer of 2003. Kuitca was the chosen representative of Argentina at the Venice Biennale in 2007, where he was one of only three artists with work on view in both a national Pavilion and in the central international Biennale exhibition.






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