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Alejandro Puente – A shifting of the gaze

06.11/2015 – 09.01/2016
Henrique Faria Gallery, NY

In the mid 1960s, Alejandro Puente delved deeper into the structural relations of his work. In Pintura, from 1965, he not only experimented with the organization of shapes and colors on the surface, but extended the color to the edges of the canvas and, having displaced the focal point, he forced the spectator to shift his gaze toward the sides. This first break with pictorial tradition–used to center the field of vision on the front of the canvas–placed his work midway between a painting and an object. He was soon encouraged to take the canvas down from the wall to work with modular systems that, having invaded the space, triggered the audience’s action to circle the piece in order to observe all its views and reconfigure the whole. With these proposals, he no doubt radicalized the break with the two-dimensionality of the painting-screen.
The collection of works that is being exhibited demonstrates that the systems as well as the American impression present throughout his work were always interpreted by means of an abstract language for which the rationality of the constructivist model was not incompatible with the sensible qualities of the expression, because his had always been a humanized geometry that aimed to overcome the rigidity of the neo-plasticist approach, and to recover the marks of identity without succumbing to folkloric interpretation. A member of the postwar wave of artists who were determined to delve into the latent possibilities of the avant-garde, Alejandro Puente maintained an interest in shifting the gaze and was an active protagonist of the neo-avant-garde that reactivated the postulates of constructivism.

Alejandro Puente (La Plata, 1933–Buenos Aires, 2013) began his art studies under Héctor Cartier at the Facultad de Arte de La Plata, focusing on sight and color theory. He then joined the Grupo Sí, whose first expositions took place in 1961 in the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes de La Plata and later in the Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires. In 1967 he received a Guggenheim Grant, with which he traveled to New York and resided there for four years. Before he left, he was part of the exposition Más allá de la geometría at the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella and in its North American version, Beyond Geometry, at the Center for Inter-American Relations in New York (1968). In 1970 he was invited to participate in Information at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. From there, he went on to exhibit in Switzerland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Cuba, Japan, and China. In 1985 he was chosen to represent Argentina in the 18th Bienal de São Paulo. He has gained many recognitions, including: First Prize at Salón Telecom Argentina (1995), First Prize at Salón Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (1999), Grand Prize at Salón Nacional de Pintura (2001), Konex Award (2002), Gold Harlequin Prize, Fundación Pettoruti (2002) and the Rosario Prize, Fundación Castagnino (2003). Puente’s work has been acquired by numerous public and private collections, both in Argentina and abroad.

This post is also available in: Spanish