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Press Release

Sperone Westwater is pleased to announce the exhibition of Guillermo Kuitca opening 1 November – 15 December 2002.  On view will be new paintings (The Ring, Nocturnes, Trauerspiel) and numerous works on paper.

Central to Kuitca’s upcoming exhibition is his epic 5-part painting, The Ring, 2002, inspired by Richard Wagner’s magnum opus, Der Ring des Nibelungen.  After considerable study, Kuitca began his interpretation by designing covers for various recordings, respecting its various parts, but locating each version in a different time and place and acknowledging the different recording companies.

Beginning with a version of Das Rheingold from post-war Europe conducted by Wilhelm Furtwangler, Kuitca’s The Ring moves chronologically.  After Wilhelm Furtwangler’s version is Georg Solti’s (recorded between 1959 and 1965), followed by Pierre Boulez’ (from the early 80s), and finally James Levine’s from the early 90s.  The movement of Kuitca’s Ring is geographical as well as temporal, commencing in the Europe of the late 1940s (Furtwangler, with the RAI orchestra in Rome) and progressing towards the contemporary United States (Levine and the Metropolitan Orchestra, with a multi-cultural cast).  Thus, he situates the dramatic movement from the introduction of the characters in the first part of the Ring to their foreseeable end at Gotterdammerung or Twilight of the Gods in the recognizable power structure of these times. 

Throughout Kuitca’s Ring, a leit motiv is the architectural configuration, a traditional point of reference during most of the artist’s 25-year career.  Also notable is the diversity of formal styles from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present day which the artist adapts.  He begins with a Cubist panel of the image in Das Rheingold, followed by a chromatic and typographical treatment as is used in Die Walkure’s silver screen, then a more concrete representation where Siegfried, the hero of the Ring, is seen as transparent in a crystal maze and finally, the digital distortion in one of the two panels which constitute Gotterdammerung.

Kuitca’s architectural vision is also essential to Nocturnes, a series of nine, each of which depicts the graphic symbol of a particular function.  These configurations include confessional booths, peep-show and pornographic video booths, gambling tables and slot machines, conveyor belts, left-handed school desks, corporate work stations, work-out machines, congressional seating plan, and medical care units (operating rooms, doctor’s offices, hospital rooms, wheel chairs).  The palette combines blue and black with white lines, thus creating a nighttime setting for the situation he depicts.  The Nocturnes might be considered current manifestations of the architectural themes presented in the Tablada Suite (1991-1993) and subsequently in the Neufert Suite (1998-1999).

This show also includes a large selection of the artist’s recent works on paper, which result from both digital and manual techniques.  By altering photographic paper, Kuitca dissolves, breaks and melts his images.  These images reiterate subjects already known as part of his repertoire, including theater seating plans, genealogical charts, maps, apartment floor plans, cd covers, conveyor belts, confessional booths and crime scenes.

Guillermo Kuitca lives and works in Buenos Aires where he was born in 1961.  This is his sixth exhibition with Sperone Westwater.  Institutions which have organized one-man exhibitions of his work include Witte de With, Rotterdam (1990); “Projects 30” The Museum of Modern Art (1991); IVAM Centre del Carme, Valencia (1993); Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City (1993); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus (1994); Whitechapel Art Gallery, London (1994);Centro de Arte Hélio Oiticica, Rio de Janeiro (1999); Fondation Cartier, Paris (2000).   Next February (2003), a retrospective opens at the Reina Sofia, Madrid, and travels to MALBA, Buenos Aires in June.


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