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Major Guillermo Kuitca Retrospective Opens Sperone Westwater's New Building
For its inaugural exhibition at 257 Bowery, Sperone Westwater presents an exhibition of new paintings by Guillermo Kuitca. Photo: Nigel Young Foster + Partners.

NEW YORK, NY.- For its inaugural exhibition at 257 Bowery, Sperone Westwater presents an exhibition of new paintings by Guillermo Kuitca. This is Kuitca’s eighth solo show with Sperone Westwater.

Kuitca’s new paintings developed from a series he first showed in 2007, when he represented Argentina at the Venice Biennale. While the subject of the canvases in Venice was by and large abstraction itself, in this new group Kuitca mixes the abstract with compositional motifs of his own past series. Alongside his pictorial explorations of light and shadow, color and construction, and the transparency of planes, Kuitca incorporates elements of past series such as fragmented maps, architectural floor plans, and thorns. Some works, such as Untitled (2009), are monumental in scale, while others like Philosophy for Princes I (2009) are small, emphasizing the dramatic and shifting height of the new gallery spaces. Kuitca says these paintings “emerged from an anonymous way of accessing modernism. The result is a sort of explosion of chronology, in which all references almost cancel each other out.”

Le Sacre 1992
Moving Room Installation

Sperone Westwater will also exhibit Kuitca’s vintage and pivotal work, Le Sacre (1992), comprised of maps painted onto 54 mattresses, all vertically installed in the gallery’s 12 x 20-foot Moving Room.

On each bed Kuitca has painted geographic maps of randomly selected locations from around the world, punctuated by irregularly placed buttons that serve as markers for cities. Le Sacre has been included in several museum exhibitions where the beds have been shown in various configurations, almost always installed horizontally on the floor with their legs attached. When Kuitca first made these now iconic works in the early 1990s, he envisioned the beds being vertically mounted on the walls of an enclosed space. Now, for the first time since their inception, Kuitca realizes this vision in the Moving Room, where the beds will cover the wall surface. While the room moves slowly between the 2nd and 3rd floors, viewers have the opportunity to be immersed within the installation. Speaking recently about Le Sacre, the artist has said that his “map-on-mattress works represent a meeting point of private and public experiences. However it is now that I also see this large platform of beds as the surface on which a ‘Rite’ or ‘Sacre’ takes place.”

Guillermo Kuitca was born in 1961 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he continues to live. In 1985 Kuitca represented Argentina in the XVIII São Paulo Biennal. He began to receive significant international attention when he was selected for a 1991 “Projects” show at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and from his 1992 installation at Documenta IX. Kuitca’s early shows include a solo exhibition at the Instituto de Arte Moderno (IVAM) in Valencia, Spain (1993), and a survey at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH, which traveled to the Center for the Fine Arts in Miami, and the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London (1994-1995). In 2000 he exhibited at the Foundation Cartier in Paris. In 2003 the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid presented a retrospective of Kuitca’s works covering the period 1983-2003, which traveled to the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano in Buenos Aires (MALBA). In 2007 Kuitca represented Argentina at the Venice Biennale at the Ateneo Veneto. In 2009, Kuitca designed the stage curtain for the new opera house in Dallas commissioned by Foster + Partners. In October 2009, the Miami Art Museum premiered Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980-2008. This most recent survey has since traveled to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (26 June - 19 September 2010), and will soon open at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. (21 October 2010 - 9 January 2011).

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