Jorge Eielson - Latin America New York Tuesday, November 17, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Born in Lima in 1924 to a Peruvian mother and a Swedish father, Jorge Eielson was dedicated to the arts from an early age, exploring painting, writing and music. Eielson’s professor José María Arguedas exposed him to pre-Columbian art, which had a formative effect on the young artist. Eielson’s work in poetry, painting, and theater were highly praised during his youth, but because Peru was still relatively isolated during the 1940s, Eielson eagerly accepted an opportunity to travel to Paris, where he immediately marveled at the creative spirit of the city. There, Eielson became part of the Grupo MADÍ and exhibited his work in prestigious galleries before traveling on to Sweden followed by Geneva and Italy, where both his poetry and his art were highly regarded.

    Despite his fascination with the avant-garde in Europe, in the 1960s Eielson began to look toward his Peruvian past. In 1963, he began his emblematic series based on the ancient Incan recording device known as the quipu, which consists of methodically tied cords whose knots were used for measuring various data. For Eielson, quipus represent an ancient modernism in their simple geometric forms, thereby connecting Europe with Peru’s pre-Columbian past. The inherent abstraction, however, is merely a surface formality as the works directly reference historic, cosmic, and political connotations. The present lot, for example, consists of a neutral colored round surface, systematically divided in the manner of a quipu. Upon closer examination it becomes apparent that the brightly colored cords and knots are actually flags. The idea of rendering a country’s flag unrecognizable through the process of twisting and knotting could be considered an act of political protest. It is more likely—considering Eielson’s poetic nature—that this gesture is equally an act of peace, joining the countries together in order to subordinate any singular nationalistic symbol.



1994 - 2004
knotted flags and acrylic on canvas stretched over panel
Diameter: 70 in. (170 cm)
This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity issued by the Archivio Jorge Eielson Saronno.

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $35,000

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

Latin America

New York Auction 18 November 2015 6pm