The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey presents Abstracciones. Nueva York, París, Cuenca, Mexico [Abstractions, New York, Paris, Cuenca, Mexico]. Organized by the Museo de Arte Moderno, MAM, the exhibition displays a collection dedicated to the most influential movement of the second half of the 20th Century: the abstract expressionism born in the United States and bears witness to its immediate corollaries: informalism and the lyrical or geometric abstractions that spread throughout France, Spain and Mexico.

The exhibition is made up of 52 pieces of the Peralta-Doménech Collection. The pieces were created between 1950 and 1970 by 45 artists, including Ad Reinhardt, Alberto Gironella, Antoni Tàpies, Carlos Mérida, Cordelia Urueta, Fernando García Ponce, Francisco Corzas, Francisco Toledo, Gunther Gerzo, Jean Dubuffet, José Luis Cuevas, Lilia Carrillo, Manuel Felguérez, Mark Rothko, Pierre Soulages, Robert Motherwell, Serge Poliakoff, Willem de Kooning, Vicente Rojo and Yves Klein.

A century has passed since the appearance of abstractionism in western painting, with its countless variants and categories. Those from the post-war period, aside from reacting to a state of artistic and cultural pluralism, also betray a prescient nature: in the act of painting itself, the energy of the movement and the spontaneity in the handling of the materials, innovative arguments for the conceptualization of the painting are revealed. We also see a prelude to other forms of artistic creation that, paradoxically, put painting itself to the test.

The exhibition consists of pieces by the most distinguished artists in abstract expressionism, tachism, informalism, action painting and painting and the Latin American art movement The Rupture, and it represents a significant body of work that not only outlines the genealogy of an art form that opened a path towards a new artistic era, it also allowed us to understand the present-day pictorial dynamics through an extensive battery of aesthetic resources.

The paintings that comprise this exhibition appear as a storyline that never stops evolving and that, defiantly, breaks up and rebuilds in order to update itself over and over, in spite of the apparent immutability of its components.

Even though the creators of these pieces hail from different countries (Germany, Canada, Holland, Italy and those already cited), their production contributed in highlighting the four cities in the exhibition´s title, that secured the genealogy of abstract art.

Oils, acrylics, watercolors, aquatint, drawings and sculptures show us how in New York, Motherwell and De Kooning adopted automatism in order to transmit the energy of movement (action painting), while Rothko extracted metaphysical accents from vaporous color fields (color field painting).

In Paris, Soulages and Poliakoff used spontaneous brushstrokes to erase any reference to recognizable objects, Dubuffet reclaimed the crude expressivity of art brut and Klein patented his dark blue monochromes.

At the same time, Franco´s Spain saw the resurgence of the anti-establishment vanguard with Tàpies and with the El Paso collective, which dared insert waste materials such as sackcloth and wire mesh into their black and red pieces.

Among the dissident youth of Mexico, The Rupture guaranteed the generational change by branching out into geometrical abstraction with Gerzso, Felguérez and Rojo, and into a lyricism that complied with the whimsical sensory flow, with Carrillo and Urueta. For its part, the figuration that rejected realism, found its course in the expressionist brushstrokes of Gironella, Cuevas, Corzas and Toledo.

Frequently, mid-century art has been limited to the presumed advantage of the so-called New York School over the European vanguards truncated by war. With the aim of refuting this prejudice, the show’s curator, Sylvia Navarrete, arranged the pieces according to the dialogue between their experimental capacity and their formal alignment. She ignored the usual chronological or hierarchical criteria in order to evaluate from an egalitarian perspective, the sudden expansion of that aesthetic phenomenon that transformed the culture and tastes of western societies, eager for an artistic language capable of helping them get over the trauma of World War II.

The exhibition Abstractions, New York, Paris, Cuenca, Mexico will remain open to the public from Friday February 26 to Sunday May 22, 2016.

© MUSEO DE ARTE CONTEMPORÁNEO DE MONTERREY, 2016 | Zuazua y Jardón S/N, Centro. Monterrey, N.L. Mexico, 64000 | Ph. +52 (81) 8262.4500

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