“The Other Order of Form” presents the work of five contemporary artists that live and work between Latin America and Europe: Fernanda Fragateiro (Portugal), Darío Escobar (Guatemala), Matthias Bitzer (Germany), Patrick Hamilton (Chile), and Eva Berendes (Germany). Beyond their formal and conceptual strategies, they share the use of the plastic language associated with certain formalism but charged with historical, social, and cultural content.
In that sense, “The Other Order of Form” explores the possibilities derived from the languages from the 20th-century Avant-garde - Constructivism, Neoplasticism, Bauhaus, Neo-Concretism- to talk to us in the present time about matters related to the urban landscape, the desert, and time, as well as of memory and the relationship of our perception of things in front of phenomena that surrounds us. In the works presented in this exhibition, there exists an explicit will to alter our gaze to unlearn what we take for as known and to question our relationship with abstract thought and concrete reality.
Organized by: González y González
The exhibit begins with a grand installation that divides the gallery space by artist Eva Berendes (1974). “Middelburg Curtain” functions as a division wall to the exhibit room, or as an independent sculptural painting. In its architectural scale, it faces the visitors’ bodies as they navigate around it.
Eva’s cotton curtain dominates the space with its striking abstract composition which she created by cutting and sewing pieces of fabric allowing spectators to view it from different perspectives. Berendes first made this type of work for her MA show and ever since then she has gained notorious recognition for her big-scale curtains.
“Middelburg Curtain” has the essence of a painting, but in a lighter form. Often times in paintings geometric shapes tend to end up having a rigid trait, on the contrary, forms in the curtain have a strong physical presence with movement and dynamism.
“My practice is really rooted in that kind of thinking, that collision almost between applied art and abstract painting, and that has allowed me to move into other fields” (Eva Berendes).
Eva’s collages mount a variety of objects on transfer prints of grid patterns, forming compositions. Each collage combines different elements in a unique form that attributes them singularity. Materials such as rubber, wood, paper, dried leaf, plasticine, lemon net, i.e., follow her careful experimentation with mundane objects. In contrast to the striking scale of her curtains, the collages transmit a degree of intimacy and detail that is hard to come across.
Fernanda Fragateiro (1962) centers her work and research on Avant-garde, Art, design, and Architecture. The artworks in her “Overlap” series are a part of a group of sculptures created as an homage to the textile Bauhaus artist Otti Berger.
The pieces are made with stainless steel support and handmade fabric drawing notebooks. The use of fabric notebooks, transforms them into modular elements with conceptual significance, having an active presence in space and bringing into the conversation theories of perceptual apprehension from textile materials. Overlap is an important word to talk about the essence of all of these works: overlap of elements, the overlap of materials, overlap of stories, overlap of time.
The German artist Matthias Bitzer (1975) takes reference in both Science and Literature as a starting point to his works, arriving at his largest project: a visual network that fills the voids of our perception of time and space.
Imaginative and eccentric, Bitzer’s paintings merge figuration and abstraction. Aspects from various styles and movements are also perceived in his work.
In "Pelagic agent" (2021) the artist adopts traits from Surrealism, featuring hybrid characters that challenge human experience and rationality. Bitzer's narrative is complex, creating a new vision of forms and colors as he speaks in a symbolic, unexpected, and uncanny language.
His technique is far from painterly but rather linear, masterfully achieving shadows and color. "Stubenraucher" (2020), depicts a smoker painted in shades of green and yellow. The lack of local color in the figure's face, the cartoon-like depiction of smoke, and the incorporation of unusual materials such as a color pencil, metal stick, and a ping pong ball, forge a dialogue with 20th-century Modernism and naïve paintings or children drawings.
The artist constructs the frames himself, encapsulating imagined environments that activate the unconscious mind.
In his “Urban Landscapes” series, Darío Escobar (1971) presents a wall-bound sculpture made from baseball bats. This series started in 2004 and was designed under the premise to reflect and amplify the traditional concept of “Urban Landscapes” and reimagine it in contemporary terms. It consists of constructing a traditional landscape using an industrial object that relates to the context, in this case, a baseball bat from the local team.
Conceptually the work consists of leaving the area beneath the horizon of the city underneath the base of the wall, generating with the space an idea of volume that exits the city, unveiling the contour of the city and its buildings, in this way an analogy was thought regarding the violence in the cities and the violence of a sports object such as the baseball bat, and with all of this violence it becomes a space for contemplation and coexistence with apparent calm.
In his most recent photographic series “Atacama” Patrick Hamilton (1974) presents visual interventions of a desert in northern Chile, intervened with copper plate. They are a series of photographs that when placed next to each other create one big scale multi-panel photograph where different sights from the desert remind us of the multiple stories the desert hides ranging from politics, economics, astronomy, and culture. This series also serves as an homage to Ani and Josef Albers’ trip to Chile and Peru and their experience discovering the textile designs from the Plateau.