Guillermo Kuitca
L'Encyclopédie Nos. I, II, III, IV, V, VI

Past Exhibition 18 Jan – 14 Mar 2014 Zürich


Hauser & Wirth is delighted to announce Guillermo Kuitca’s third solo exhibition in Zurich, ‘L’Encyclopédie Nos. I, II, III, IV,V, VI’.

Guillermo Kuitca (b. 1961, Buenos Aires) is one of the most pre-eminent artists working in Latin America today. He draws on a range of iconography including architectural plans, maps, theatres, musical scores and domestic spaces. His work explores themes of structured absence, sound and silence and the tension between the empirical map and abstract form.

On the second floor of Löwenbräu, Kuitca presents a suite of graphite works on canvas. ‘L’Encyclopédie Nos. I, II, III, IV, V, VI’ is part of an ongoing series that Kuitca began in the late nineties, which derives from engravings of architectural floor plans illustrated in the Enlightenment’s ‘Encyclopédie’, edited by philosopher Denis Diderot. The utopic vision of the 18th century ‘Encyclopédie’ – to accumulate and record all knowledge – seems ever closer to being realised today with all-encompassing and constantly expanding digital libraries and online archives. In conversation with Hans-Michael Herzog, Kuitca says:

‘I am interested in the major contradiction between a medium like painting, which is so specific and partial, and the abyss of an enormous collection of things’.

In early ‘L’Encyclopédie’ works, Kuitca transforms facsimiles of marble floor plans, displacing ink on the canvas surface with water, dissolving the architectural details and rendering the marble structure fluid. The titles of these early works reflect the monumental buildings they are drawn from as described in Diderot’s ‘Encyclopédie’, such as ‘Untitled (Marble Flooring Plan of Val-de-Grâce, Paris)’, which was included in Kuitca’s solo exhibition at Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris in 2000.

In the early 2000s, Kuitca began manipulating the same facsimiles, but printed on coated photographic paper. The surfaces appear to be at once exploding and collapsing, which is actually the result of a delamination of the multiple layers of paper, causing fragments of the image to break up, drift away, and then re-attach themselves. These ruptured plans are meticulously transposed onto canvas in graphite. The slow motion dissipation across the canvas brings to mind the mesmerising closing sequence of Michelaneglo Antonioni’s 1970 cult film ‘Zabriskie Point’, which depicts exploding building debris emitting to the edge of the frame.

‘L’Encyclopédie Nos. I, II, III, IV, V, VI’ denotes Kuitca’s interest in sequence signifying time and alludes to movements of a musical score. The original architectural reference is removed from the title completely and silence permeates these diagrammatic graphite renderings.

In 2009, the Miami Art Museum, Miami FL hosted a major survey of Kuitca’s work, ‘Guillermo Kuitca: Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper, 1980 – 2008’, which travelled to the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo NY (2010), the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis MN (2010) and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington DC (2010 / 2011). In 2007, Kuitca represented Argentina at La Biennale di Venezia. In 2012, Kuitca presented a solo exhibition ‘Diarios’ at The Drawing Center, New York NY which toured in 2013 to Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan MI and Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver CO. In 2013, Kuitca was the second artist in residence at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, where he produced a permanent site-specific installation. In July 2014, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo will present a major retrospective of Kuitca’s work which will run through the Bienal de São Paulo.

Selected images

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Installation views

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About the artist

Born in 1961 in Buenos Aires, where he continues to live and work, Argentine artist Guillermo Kuitca’s distinctive cubistoid style masterfully reconciles abstraction with an illusionist form of figuration. Informed by the worlds of architecture, music, theater and cartography, Kuitca’s paintings seek…

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