Vivian Suter
Vivian Suter
Courtesy of: Vivian Suter, Gladstone Gallery, House of Gaga, Karma International y Proyectos Ultravioleta. Photo: Francisca Vivo

Exhibition Vivian Suter

From
06/01/2024 to
31/03/2024

Vivian Suter was born in Argentina from Swiss parents shortly after the end of World War II. At thirteen she moved to Switzerland where she became an artist and spent the following twenty hears of her life. Until, traveling through Guatemala in search of pyramids and perhaps also of love, she decided to settle down on the shore of lake Atitlan, a decision that marked not only the rest of her life but, significantly, her art future making.

Since the eighties and in the former grounds of a coffee plantation, Suter makes paintings with a wide array of colors and techniques and with the unwavering support of the environment: rain, wind, heat, storms and even floods contribute with energy and matter to the large canvases that she approaches with both vigor and gentleness. They are often a combination of gestures, moments and effects produced by the overlayering of the artist’s intention and the apparently randomness of the elements. Sometime they are left to sit outdoor until they call to be rehoused. In other cases, they are inadvertently complemented by overpowering forces of nature such as when tropical hurricanes have flooded the artist’s studio and storage over the years. Much like Xocomil, the strong wind current that forms as warm winds from the pacific ocean traverse the mountains and result in cold winds throughout the region, Suter’s paintings possess both a raw power and an elegance that can determine the weather in the viewer’s mind as well as in Atitlan’s afternoons.

Vivian Suter
Courtesy of: Vivian Suter, Gladstone Gallery, House of Gaga, Karma International y Proyectos Ultravioleta. Photo: Francisca Vivo

Painting as a living being.

Indeed, the works reflect both the state of the artist and that of the environment: some are serene, calm, almost soft in appearance; others are energetic, intense, as if channeling the energy of a rapture or trance. They respond to the natural flow of energies around the artist’s studio where palms and lush vegetation dictate the tone and frequency of one’s state of mind. And while each painting is a world –or a moment– of its own, it’s their combination, their existing together, that form an oeuvre that speaks of artmaking as a state of body and mind, of body and Earth. Indeed, the works reflect both the state of the artist and that of the environment: some are serene, calm, almost soft in appearance; others are energetic, intense, as if channeling the energy of a rapture or trance. They respond to the natural flow of energies around the artist’s studio where palms and lush vegetation dictate the tone and frequency of one’s state of mind. And while each painting is a world –or a moment– of its own, it’s their combination, their existing together, that form an oeuvre that speaks of artmaking as a state of body and mind, of body and Earth.

Based on the idea of paintings (and artworks in general) as objects that are in synchrony with the natural and vital energy of life, and that can be thought of as living entities in their own right, Painting as Being gather works from three diverse groups that will, with the structural help of an ad hoc hanging device, inhabit the specific architecture of the of Cervieri Monsuárez Foundation. Conceived of more like a reunion of friends, colleagues, and family members than a concrete and closed selection of artworks, the exhibition brings together the Waterfall –an installation presented at Museo Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Museum, Palacio Velásquez in Madrid, a group of the subtle works from a recent exhibition at Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Bergamo and a new groups of paintings from Suter’s lake Atitlan home atelier. Together, they will present for the first time in Uruguay the strength –both physical as well as formal– of Vivian’s paintings and remind us of the power of art making, of nature, and of their combination.

Different hanging systems will allow this array of origin-conscious yet cosmopolitan visual manifestations of energy to spend the Summer (and art) season as guests in the Cervieri Monsuárez space and potentially overflow it to become acquainted and engage in mutual observation with local and visiting artists, art enthusiasts and the abstracted visitor. Painting as Being brings together different moments of Suter’s practice to indulge the viewer in an embrace of vital energy that connects different moments of her flowing practice, José Ignacio with Lake Atitlan.

Curator

Emiliano Valdés

Emiliano Valdés (Guatemala, 1980) is chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art of Medellín since January 2015. He also serves as advisor for Latin America for the Kadist collection (San Francisco/Paris) and is curating the Bawwaba 2024 section of the fair art Art Dubai. Valdés 2015 was associate curator of the 10th Gwangju Biennial (South Korea) and co-director of Proyectos Ultravioleta. He was previously the curator and head of visual arts at the Cultural Center of Spain in Guatemala. Valdés has also worked in institutions such as dOCUMENTA(13) (Kassel), the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid) and contemporary Magazines (London).

Valdés was co-curator of the 8th Biennial of Nicaraguan Visual Arts (Nicaragua); curator of the 17 Paiz Art Biennial (Guatemala); director of the seminar 'Habitat: Art, context and urban analysis' (Nicaragua), artistic director of Foto30, a festival of contemporary photography and image in Guatemala City and professor of the Introduction to Curating Chair at the Francisco Marroquín University (Guatemala ). He was a member of the Arts and Literary Arts Panel for the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Residency and has served on numerous panels and juries.

At the MAMM, Valdés has curated exhibitions by Naufus Ramírez Figueroa, María Teresa Hincapié, Carlos Amorales, Allora & Calzadilla, María Isabel Rueda, Jorge Julián Aristizábal and Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, in addition to the group exhibitions Time to listen to us. Manifestations of indigenous art in Colombia, The longest road. Contemporary art in Antioquia, Art in Colombia in the 21st century, Deseo. An exhibition about love, sex and lust and In and between geographies, among others. He has written for international magazines catalogs and books. In 2017 he completed Guatemala from 33,000 km away. Contemporary Art from 1960 to the Present, the first international retrospective of modern and contemporary art from Guatemala for the Santa Barbara Museum of Contemporary Art as part of the Getty Foundation's PST: LA/LA initiative.

Emiliano Valdés has a degree in Architectural Sciences from the IUAV University of Venice and has a postgraduate degree in History of Art and Literature from the Spanish Ministry of Culture and the Duques de Soria Foundation. He is currently pursuing a Master's Degree in Urban and Environmental Processes at EAFIT University in Medellín.

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