Guillermo Kuitca - Latin America New York Tuesday, May 26, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Galeria Thomas Cohn, Rio de Janeiro

  • Exhibited

    New York, Museum of Modern Art, Projects: Guillermo Kuitca, September 13 - October 29 1991
    Newport Harbor Art Museum, Guillermo Kuitca, February 7- March 29 1992

  • Literature

    New Port Harbor Art Museum, Guillermo Kuitca, 1992, p. 8 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    The very complex and sophisticated work of Argentinean artist Guillermo Kuitca is exemplified by the present lot, which deals with numerous subjects including space, language, death, travel, maps, memory and migration. In this monumental work, the viewer observes notions of discontinuity, disruptions, passage, radical transformations, cutoffs and returns. Kuitca, whose importance within contemporary Latin American art cannot be overstated, has exhibited extensively at venues that include the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Tate Gallery (England), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington D.C.). In fact, the present lot was included in the exhibition at the MoMA (New York), highlighting its significance within Kuitca’s oeuvre.

    Kuitca was a child prodigy who started painting at a very early age and held his first exhibition at the age of 13. Since then, he has never ceased his artistic production and has become one of the most prolific and prestigious artists in the contemporary art scene. Many of his early works were inspired by the theater, which later transformed into an interest in complex abstractions that interestingly convey a history of modern painting. Since the early 1980s and into the 1990s, Kuitca’s work has been characterized by recurring imagery, particularly that of road maps, architectural plans and beds by means of which he explores themes of migration and disappearance, and the importance of memory. These works induce us to meditate on our personal place within these individual maps and territories and ultimately the larger world.

    Although his painting cannot be reduced to territories grouped around an Argentinean identity, it is possible to detect vestiges of said identity in his work. Jorge Luís Borges offers us a glimpse into his painting: “To be Argentinean, says, Borges, implies the possibility of trying all of these, from the cosmos to Hamlet” (Paulo Herkenhoff, Guillermo Kuitca – Obras 1982 – 2002, 2003, p. 269), thus evoking a certain vastness and echoes of spaces without landscapes. Kuitca’s own observation of his painting of maps is that the political vision is undeniable: it is a vision of history, where the maps are not neutral and rather they convey a language of power. A vision that indeed connotes power indirectly as it alludes to the appropriation of wealth, sources of energy, corporative economy, political regimes and oppressions. In this sense, his maps, like the present lot, are also a statistical quantification of economic disparities. Kuitca has removed all city names and highway numbers in his maps to denote total abstraction. Here Kuitca - once again - reiterates in his works, especially in these maps, the triviality of names and places, reflecting our obsession with and fear of anonymity and indifference. It is interesting to note that he chooses such a conventional medium as painting to question our most complex and universal dilemmas. In this sense, the territories and spaces he unveils through his maps, as Kuitca aptly predicts, will resonate differently for each viewer as he or she gets lost in their complex compositions.

  • Artist Biography

    Guillermo Kuitca

    Argentinian • 1961

    Guillermo Kuitca is an Argentinean child prodigy who held his first solo exhibition at age thirteen. He emerged as a painter during the 1980s, rejecting the neoexpressionist trend of the time. Yet his art is intellectually demanding, formally complex and relevant to the historical moment.

    Kuitca is influenced by Antoni Tápies, Francis Bacon, Jenny Holzer and Pina Bausch. His paintings denote total abstraction and deal with space, language, deat, and travel. His series of maps from the 1990s depicted on canvases and mattresses explore themes of disappearance, migration and the importance of memory. He rarely depicts humans, and his map paintings are difficult to decipher geographically, allowing viewers to meditate on the psychology of space.

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mixed media on canvas
118 1/4 x 53 3/4 in. (300.4 x 136.5 cm)
Signed, titled and dated "UNTITLED SIN TITULO Kuitca 1990/1991" on the reverse.

$150,000 - 250,000 

Sold for $185,000

Contact Specialist
Kaeli Deane
Head of Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1352

Latin America

New York 26 May 2015 4pm