Henrique Faria and Herlitzka + Faria
35 East 67th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10065
Sept. 9 – Oct. 29, 2022
Tuesday to Saturday, 11 am to 6 pm
Henrique Faria and Herlitzka + Faria are pleased to present Marta Minujín: A Survey, the artist’s third solo exhibition in the gallery and one of many held in New York City since the 1960s. This exhibition features a selection of works across various modalitiesranging from painting, sculpture, video, and installation and holds a privileged position from which to view, or survey, the creative and dynamic movements Minujín has made throughout her six-decade long career. These works represent important themes that Minujín has addressed and the major trends that Minujín has dipped her toes into. Most importantly, these works reveal the personal growth of an artist who is always striving to remain open to new means of expression and experimentation, but above all, to remain true to herself.
A central tenet of Minujín’s practice has been to uphold the primacy of the experience of the work of art. This has been demonstrated through her early experiments with Informalism: her desire to physically build up and manipulate the surface of the canvas into a sea of abstraction, all the while knowing that given the nature of the materials she was using (namely cardboard and pyroxylin shellac), this very surface could crumble and erode over time. The monochromatic character of her Informalist paintings soon gave way to an explosion of color in the shape of her “colchones”, or mattresses, series in the early 60s. Inspired by the counter-culture ethos of that time and by psychedelic experiments with hallucinogenic drugs, Minujín, according to art historian Rodrigo Alonso in the exhibition text, aimed “to expand her consciousness and achieve visions otherwise barred by an imagination bound within social confines and rationality.” The organically shaped and fluorescently painted mattresses lay in suggestive and languid positions along the walls and floor of Minujín’s studio, encouraging a sustained and sensorial engagement from viewers. While nearly all of the mattress works fashioned by Minujín in the early 1960s, along with many other early works, were destroyed in a performative happening of ritualistic burning, La destrucción (Destruction, Paris 1963), Minujín’s return to the series in the 2010s again evidences the artist’s creative commitmentas an artist who has learned and changed and experienced the worldto experience her own work in new contexts.
Direct sensory involvement, whether through the artist’s process of creating artwork or the viewer’s experience of that artwork, is invoked in Minujín’s later installation Laberinto Minujinda (1985), a stimulating environment that led viewers through “multi-sensorial situations”including a tactile room, brightly painted walls, and a tunnel of televisionsand is poignantly applied in the large scale installation The Parthenon of Books (1983), in which the artist celebrated Argentina’s return to democracy and the restitution of civil liberties by recreating a life-size scaffold model of the Parthenon and lining it with forbidden books that spectators could take home for free to read and share. Through the active questioning of public and cultural monumentstheir examination, critique, and, even, topplinginherent in works such as The Parthenon of Books or The Statue of Liberty Falling Down (1983) and the ability to approach these works intellectually as well as physically, Minujín courageously encourages viewers to work through their own processes of criticality and to look on long-held beliefs or sites with new eyes.
Marta Minujín staged her first happening, entitled La destrucción, in Paris in 1963. In 1966 she mounted Simultaneidad en Simultaneidad, as part of the Three Countries Happening she shared with Allan Kaprow (New York) and Wolf Vostell (Berlin). Some of her ephemeral works, massively attended, include El Partenón de libros [The Parthenon of Books] (1983), Carlos Gardel de fuego [Carlos Gardel Ablaze] (1981), La Torre de Babel con libros de todo el mundo [The Tower of Babel Made of Books from Around the World] (2011). In turn, she made trans-psychedelic paintings, technicolor mattresses, and performances. Her works are found in both Argentine and international collections, among them: The Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Guggenheim Museum (New York), Tate Modern (London), the Art Museum of the Americas (Washington D.C.), the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), Olympic Park (Seoul), Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Buenos Aires) and Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), as well as in major private collections. Over the last decades she has had numerous solo exhibitions and retrospectives; outstanding among them, Marta Minujín. Obras 1959- 1989 (MALBA, 2010) and La Menesunda según Marta Minujín [MM’s “Mayhem”] (Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires, 2015-2016). She has taken part in group shows at the Guggenheim Museum (New York), Place du Palais Royal (Paris), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), and Fundación PROA (Buenos Aires), among other prestigious art institutions. In 2016 she was awarded the Premio Velázquez a las Artes Plásticas (Madrid). In 2017, at Documenta 14, in Kassel, she presented the work Pago de la deuda externa griega con olivas a Angela Merkel [Payment of Greece’s Foreign Debt in Olives to Angela Merkel] (Athens) and El Partenón de libros prohibidos [Parthenon of Banned Books]. In early 2018 she was awarded the Americas Society Cultural Achievement Award in New York. In 2019, she presented Menesunda Reloaded at the New Museum (New York) and was awarded the Premio Nacional a la Trayectoria Artística by the Salón Nacional de Artes Visuales in Argentina. In March 2021, her work Pandemia (2020-2021), was presented in the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Buenos Aires), and had the solo show Implosión! at Fundación Santander Rio and in July, of the same year, she presented the project Big Ben Lying Down with Political Books as part of the Manchester International Festival, UK. Her video installation Minucode (1968) is currently on view at MoMA as part of its permanent collection.
She lives and works in Buenos Aires.