Alvaro Gómez “A return to the thread”

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

Italiano (Italian)

April 22 – June 12

Henrique Faria New York is pleased to present A Return to The Thread, Alvaro Gómez Campuzano’s first exhibition with the gallery. This presentation brings together a selection of textile works created from the early 1970s to 1990. The title of this exhibition makes reference to the very origin of textile art, the thread.

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

Over the course of his forty year career, Álvaro Gómez Campuzano’s practice has drawn inspiration mainly from nature, ancient cultures, art history, architecture, calligraphy, music and fashion. Gómez Campuzano came of age as an artist in Colombia in the early seventies during his formative years while studying architecture and landscaping at The Javeriana University, Bogotá, simultaneously attending the IDEC (Instituto de Desarrollo de la Expresión Colombiana), where he studied ceramics. At the time he was also working side by side with Carlos Laserna, the fashion designer with whom Gómez founded a textile workshop in Bogota called “EL HUSO” in 1973. “Huso”, the Spanish word for spindle whorls, is a vital component for spinning fibers to make yarn and thread for textiles. Colombia’s textile tradition dates to pre-Columbian times. Textile manufacture was an important part of life for these cultures. Weavers made some exceptionally beautiful textiles then rivalling what has been created by hand by contemporary artists today. The ancient textiles of this region were made up of hand spun and woven fibers, either cotton or wool, exactly like the ones used by Gómez in this exhibition.

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

Referring to this pre-Hispanic tradition, Colombian critic and art historian, Eduardo Serrano writes, “The creativity displayed through textile making is part of our prehistoric inheritance, and particular to the indigenous heritage of Latin America. This patrimony, widely valued by the most prestigious international textile artists – beginning with Anni Albers, who is credited with introducing textile art to the Bauhaus, and by extension to modern art –, represents an invaluable cultural heritage that serves as an inspiration or source through which to introduce oneself to other related ways of thinking, not only in regards to the characteristics and specific qualities of this creative modality, but also to the aims of modern art. In fact, Anni Albers made fourteen trips with her husband, the renowned painter Josef Albers, to various Latin American countries to study the legacy and production of textiles.”

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

For textiles to receive proper recognition and validation, not only as a work of handicraft but rather as a discipline as important and legitimate as painting or sculpture, has not been an easy task. Even in the Bauhaus, textile works were relegated to the feminine realm, and, in most instances, related to hand- made crafts made by women. Traditionally the term art was used to refer to any skill or mastery, a concept which changed during the nineteenth century, when art came to be seen as a special faculty of the human mind to be paired with religion and science. This distinction between craft and fine art is applied to the textile arts as well, where the term textile art is now used to describe textile-based objects which are not intended for practical or decorative use. Serrano adds, “This is to say that textiles as an artistic modality are, before anything else, sensory abstractions that combine visual and textural properties through which geographical, social and aesthetic developments can be reflected. Thanks to Albers and other artists who continued on this course, contemporary textile art is a creative axis that involves an infinite amount of possibilities. This is highlighted through the works of American artists Sheila Hicks, Lenore Tawney and Claire Zeisler, who, beginning in the 1940s, integrated their weaving with three-dimensional creativity: Hicks, using diverse materials with an innovative and avant-garde spirit; Tawney, with works of architectonic scale composed of thousands of gleaming threads and Zeisler, who used knotting techniques to free herself from the geometric and two-dimensional limits of weaving. Outside of the United States are also recognized: the Polish artist, Magdalena Abakanowicz, who around 1970 began to translate her knowledge of tapestry making to sculpture, creating suggestive environments through the repetitions of shapes of the human figure; the Swiss, Elsie Giauque, whose textiles are made from a wide variety of materials, like corn leaves, and the Colombian, Olga de Amaral, who, during the same time period, became known for her large-scale abstract works in which the fibers were frequently laminated with gold or silver. These are artists that have, from different angles, contributed to the inclusion of weavings into the realm of art.”

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

Central to the artist’s practice is his constant search for a dialogue between art and architecture and his fascination with ancestral cultures and the urban landscape. “Gómez Campuzano has combined since the mid 70s, like the majority of the artists here mentioned, the traditional production of weavings with the objectives of modern and contemporary art. And this temporal syncretism, this tendency to join and harmonize time periods with lines of thinking or dissimilar ideas, have provided him with the arguments and the apt sensitivity to, on the one hand, resignify weaving and remove it from the constraints inherent to immovable definitions, and on the other hand, to express the eclecticism of contemporary art in accordance with the multiple possibilities of modern life. The artist also realized works during that period that related closely to architecture, like Muro Interior (Interior Wall, 1986) which was included in the 13th Lausanne International Tapestry Biennial in 1987. Within the piece, the artist combined areas of density and transparency and incorporated industrial materials, which, when integrated with the cotton and silk, provided him a suitable structure for the exactitude the work demanded,” Serrano concludes. Muro Interior (Interior Wall, 1986) is the highlight of this exhibition and has not been shown since.

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

“A Return to The Thread” Alvaro Gómez – Installation views

Álvaro Diego Gómez Campuzano (Bogotá, Colombia, 1956) Lives and works in Bogotá, Colombia. Studies Architecture and Landscaping at Javeriana University, Bogota from 1973 to 1978 simultaneously attending the IDEC (Instituto de Desarrollo de la Expresión Colombiana), where he studied ceramics. At the time he was also working side by side with Carlos Laserna, the fashion designer with whom Gómez founded a textile workshop in Bogota called “EL HUSO” in 1973. A selection of solo shows includes: Espacios Ceremoniales. Skandia Cultural Center, Bogotá (2008), Orme. La Pared Gallery, Bogotá (2001), Plasma. Diners Gallery, Bogotá (2000), Ornament. Dorottya Gallery, Budapest (1993), Center of Applied Arts of Geneva, Geneva(1992) and Crear en la expansión. Alejandro Otero Museum, Caracas (1986). Selected group shows include: Abstracts. MAMBO, Museum of Modern Art, Bogotá, Colombia (2014), Lletraferit. MX Espai, Barcelona, Spain (2014), Collection Arte & Arte. Torre delle Arti di Bellagio, Como, Italy (2014), Eros. Miniart Textil, Au Beffroi Montrouge (2014), Sculptures. MAMBO Collection, Museum of Modern Art, Bogotá (2012), Energheia. Miniart Textile. Montrouge (2012) and the 13th Lausanne International Tapestry Biennial (1987). His work is included in private and public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, Bogotá; Alejandro Otero Museum, Caracas; Central Museum of Textiles, Lodz, Poland; Centre de Documentación i Museu Textil, Terrassa; Musée de la Tapisserie Contemporaine, Angers; Museum of Contemporary Art, Popayán, Colombia; Kunsthallen Brandts Klaedefabrink, Odense, Denmark; Nordentjedske Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim, Norway; Museum of Modern Art, Cartagena; and Bortolaso Totaro, Como, Italia.

In Memory of Carmen Cordovez Crespo (+ 04/26/2017)

For additional information please contact Eugenia Sucre eugenia@henriquefaria.com

1 Comment on "Alvaro Gómez “A return to the thread”"

  1. Wonderful work!

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