“Gego’s art is less transformation than salvation, both mechanical and sublime.”
Roberta Smith, New York Times, October 8, 2015
Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt), born in Hamburg, Germany in 1912, graduated from the University of Stuttgart in 1938 with two degrees: engineering and architecture. Forced to flee with the advent of World War II, she moved to Venezuela, settling in Caracas in 1939. Afters years of working in design, Gego committed fully to her artistic career by 1953. At that time, geometric abstraction was becoming a sign of artistic modernity in Venezuela, as evidenced by the growing international reputations of a number of now famous Venezuelan artists. Gego quickly found success both in Caracas and internationally: MoMA purchased a work in 1959 [with numerous other purchases to follow], she exhibited at Betty Parsons, starting in 1960 and exhibited throughout Europe.
“Relations of lines created neither from the reality of seeing nor from the reality of knowing.”
Gego developed a signature approach to art-making primarily through the use of a single element: the line. With an engagement of repetition and disruption, along with the use of the space between lines not as a background but as an active place, Gego made the work currently on exhibit by making simple linear marks to create a composition that, with no actual borders, contain a semi-spherical volume and yet it has more of a presence than a defined shape. The artist’s work can create illusions, similar to the dynamism in the work of Bridget Riley or Jésus Rafael Soto and also keeps a quiet delicacy, like that in Agnes Martin’s work (n.b.: Riley and Soto were, in fact, younger than her and Martin was older, but by mere months). Gego spent a lifetime exploring the potentials of arranged, assembled and juxtaposed lines in space.
“Gego: Measuring Infinity” opens at the Guggenheim in New York on March 31 and runs through September 12.