HYBRIDIZATION AND INTERDISCPLINARITY: ALICE RAHON AND CECILIA VICUÑA AT MOCA
On November 26 ―in the framework of the Miami Art Week― Poetic Invocations and About to Happen exhibitions are inaugurated at the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA). The former, dedicated in honor to Franco-Mexican artist Alice Rahon (1904-1987), and the second dedicated to contemporary artist Cecilia Vicuña (Santiago, Chile. 1948). Both shows will remain in the museum until March of next year and are part of a program that aims to contribute to the knowledge and recognition of woman artists, on the one hand, and to reveal intercultural influences in the formation of European artists exiled in America ―especially captivated by indigenous and native cultures— on the other hand.
Poetic Invocations, Alice Rahon
Alice Rahon's insertion in the cultural scene was through poetry. In her youth she was part of the Parisian surrealist group as a poet. However, once nationalized and established in Mexico, Rahon began exploring within the painting. It was in that search that she participated in a group of European surrealist artists exiled in America: among them Remedios Varo, Benjamín Péret, Leonora Carrington, and Kati Horna.
Although the groups that Rahon frequented were avant-garde, all her artwork and experimentation was always one step beyond her contemporaries. The production of this Franco-Mexican artist is characterized not only by the combination of languages ―poetry and painting―, resource that gives her works an opening, but also by cultural hybridization. “Alice Rahon is a key figure who built a timeless connection amongst cultural flows through the origin of a poetic and spiritual art,” said Art historian curator of the exhibition, Tere Arcq. “She achieved understanding art in its purest condition: like liberated and momentous beauty.”
Throughout her life, Rahon exhibited her oeuvre worldwide: from Mexico City to New York, and from Paris to Lebanon. Her last major solo exhibition was held in 1986 at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City. Twenty-three years later, after the discovery of her work, Teresa Arcq managed a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (Mexico City) and another in El Cubo (Tijuana).
About to Happen, Cecilia Vicuña
Conceived as a great retrospective of the four decades that Cecilia Vicuña has been producing, About to Happen addresses a wide range of multidisciplinary work ranging from sculpture, text and drawing to installation and video. Organized by the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans and curated by Andrea Andersson ―Chief Curator at Helis Foundation’s Visual Arts department― and Julia Bryan-Wilson ―professor at the University of California (Berkeley) ―, the exhibition proposes to illustrate the effort and research developed by the Chilean artist to investigate the use of diverse materials and absorb the wealth of villages and landscapes alienated by the effects of climate change.
Reformulating dematerialization as a formal consequence of the sixties conceptualism and radical climate change, the exhibition also explores a process that shapes memory and public responsibility. Operating fluently between concept and crafts, text and textiles, Vicuña's artwork combines ―in the same way that Alice Rahon work does― disciplines and communities with shared relationships as land and sea, and with economic disparities and environmental of the 21st century.
In addition, for the first time in Vicuña's career the MOCA exhibition will include works in painting. The artist's entire production has oscillated between conceptualism, land art and poetry ―all within a feminist theoretical framework― and the dialogues resulting from this overlapping of techniques and languages. However, during the 60s Vicuña was instructed in painting, a technique that recently resumed in isolated cases as a recovery language.
The exhibition will include an extensive presentation of the sculptures belonging to Lo precario ―a term coined by Vicuña in the 60s to define the use of certain materials as constitutive of her sculptural practice―, where pieces of wood, thread and other objects found overlap and communicate in a dynamic network; and the famous Burned Quipu installation (2018), in which long strips of dyed wool hang from the ceiling and connect the earth and the sky in a homage that the artist makes to the losses suffered in the recent wildfires of the west coast. This last work is part of an exploration related to Andean writing through knots, a complex communication system displaced by the colonization of America.