Carlos Cruz-Diez, Physichromie No. 500
What does ‘Radical Geometry’ stand for? This is the title the Royal Academy chose for its exhibition of South American Modern Art of from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection. Director of the Colleción Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gabriel Perez-Barreiro introduced the exhibition as a “group of artists who fused geometric abstraction with radical politics”. The Royal Academy’s small and delightful exhibition is organised by countries (Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina & Uruguay) and includes sculptures and paintings.
From the title, I was looking for sharp angles and strong political views.
I was not too far off: the exhibition shows irregular shapes and frames from Argentinean Juan Mele and sharp angles from Brazilian Lygia Clark. Most of the Buenos Aires-based artists were Marxists, providing the radical politics.
Less well known is Gertrude Goldschmidt, or Gego, from Venezuela, but the Royal Academy gives her plenty of space. Her wire sculptures titled were a brilliant interplay between the physical works themselves and the shadows they created.
Well-known Op artists Carlos Cruz-Diez and Jesús Rafael Soto are also shown at the Royal Academy, including their respective works Physichromie No. 500 and Nylon Cube 1990. I wondered why optic art flourished in Latin America, remembering many impressive examples at the Malba museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The exhibition runs until 28 September.