César Paternosto (1931 - )

Marginality and displacement #7 (2002)

Oil, acrylic and emulsion on canvas
height: 120cm
width: 120cm

Donated by César Paternosto 2003


César Paternosto has been a powerful influence on the way the history of abstract art is told. He is not only an artist but also an eloquent writer, who has helped to bring the strong tradition of abstraction in Latin America to international attention. He argues that a distinctive geometric abstraction that draws on native Amerindian sources has emerged in the Americas. Conventionally dismissed as 'craft' and 'ornament', the patterns on ceramics and woven textiles, as well as the forms of Pre-Columbian stone architecture, have been an inspiration for many abstract artists who have produced an idiosyncratic aesthetic synthesis of the modernist grid and indigenous arts. During a momentous trip to Argentina, Bolivia and Peru in 1977 Paternosto rediscovered 'the abstract symbolism of stone and textile structures.' Although the basic grid of his paintings did not change dramatically, the restriction of colour to earth pigments and the articulation of space through flat planes bears witness to his rediscovery of Amerindian art and the constructive principles of the stone sculpture and architecture of the Inca. His work is rooted in a 'tectonic abstraction' that synthesises Amerindian roots and links them to modern art.

César Paternosto. The Stone and the Thread: Andean Roots of Abstract Art. Austin Texas, 1989.

Dawn Ades, 01/12/2008

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