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 to incite the potential for a theatrical experience. Shifting from gestural mark making to linear precision, and incorporating diverse motifs – spanning fragmented geographical maps and architectural plans – Kuitca's work mines varied aesthetic styles and histories.Read More
The artist's distinctive visual language was initially developed in his Desenlace series of paintings, exhibited in the Argentinean Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Recalling a cubist aesthetic and eschewing figurative references, Kuitca's segmented forms and angular patterns act as the organizing principle of his compositions in this series. To create these paintings, Kuitca's relied upon elementary human movements to map the surface of each canvas. Pacing to and fro, he marked the cloth with short diagonal strokes as he walked: a process inspired by the avant-garde choreographer Pina Bausch's notion of 'Tanztheater', which he first encountered as a young man of 19 in Buenos Aires. Struck by Bausch's dictum 'walking is enough', in light of this experience, Kuitca sought to transform the narrative effect of his paintings to evoke theatrical fields of expression and reception.
Portals, doorways and transitional thresholds are recurring themes in Kuitca's work. This stems, in part, from a response to a series of wall paintings he completed – including a mural in his studio in Buenos Aires, a commission inside Durslade Farmhouse at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, as well as installations in New York and the Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain in Paris – which encouraged Kuitca to work on a larger scale: affording a literal incorporation of real space into his canvases, while enabling Kuitca to bridge two-and three-dimensional modes of working. Kuitca's longstanding involvement with the theatre further informs his integration of architectural features and speaks to his works' conceptual proximity to scenic design.
Kuitca first entered Argentina's art scene at the young age of 13 with a solo exhibition at the Galeria Lirolay in Buenos Aires. Today, his work is represented in some of the most distinguished collections across three continents. Kuitca's work has come to international renown through exhibitions including Projects at The Museum of Modern Art in New York (1991); his participation in Documenta IX in Kassel (1992); and his representation of Argentina at the 2007 Venice Biennale. His status as one of Argentina's leading artist has been further confirmed by shows at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London (1995); the Center for Fine Arts in Miami (1993) and The Arts Club of Chicago (1999). Kuitca's most recent solo exhibition venues include the Kunsthaus Centre d'art Pasquart (2017) and Hauser & Wirth in London (2016). In 2017, Kuitca conceived and curated the show, Les Visitants, for the Fondation Cartier in Paris.
Text courtesy Hauser & Wirth.