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Meet Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt), One of Latin America’s Most Important Artists

The Museu de Arte de São Paulo presents Gego: The Emancipated Line, which demonstrates the artist’s astute balance of architectural thinking and creative skill.

By Rachel Gallaher

Gego en el Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas, 1962 Fotografia Joseph Fabry ©Fundación Gego

In 1939, a year after graduating from Stuttgart’s Technische Hochschule with degrees in engineering and architecture, intensifying Nazi oppression forced the Jewish artist Gertrud Goldschmidt to leave Germany.

She and her family fled to Venezuela, where Goldschmidt, known as Gego, went on to become one of the most important postwar artists in Latin America. Gego: The Emancipated Line, a retrospective showcasing nearly 40 years of her art, opens December 13 at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo and includes 150 examples of her work.

Organized in conjunction with Mexico’s Museo Jumex, Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, and Tate Modern, the exhibition aims to position Goldschmidt, who died in 1994, as one of the foremost female artists of the second half of the 20th century.

During the 1950s and ’60s, she explored geometric abstraction and kinetic art; her background in architecture and engineering is evident throughout her oeuvre, which includes geometric sketches, intricate wire sculptures that evoke a cellular structure or strands of DNA, and painted iron sculptures that symbolize her intense study of lines. “Given that her knowledge in civil construction is combined with her artistic practice, Gego’s interdisciplinary work deconstructs not only the division between the imaginary and the rational,” says Pablo Léon de La Barra, adjunct curator of Latin American art at MASP, “[but] also her own social role as a woman in contexts that are still mostly male: engineering, architecture, and art.”

Image on homepage: Bicho nº 87/10, 1987 Metal y pintura, 66 x 50 x 34 cm, Colección Mercantil, Caracas


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