Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt). Drawing without Paper 84/25 and 84/26. 1984 and 1987. Wood, stainless steel, iron, brass, and paint, 23 5/8 × 34 5/8 × 16 3/4" (60 × 88 × 40 cm). Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in honor of Susan and Glenn Lowry. © 2022 Fundación Gego

“To visualize a solution is what matters: to make visible that which still does not exist outside of me.”

Gego

A leading figure of Venezuelan abstraction of the 1960s and 1970s, Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt) was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1912, and graduated with a degree in engineering and architecture from the University of Stuttgart in 1938. With the advent of World War II, she migrated to Venezuela, settling in Caracas in 1939.

Gego began her artistic career in the 1950s. At that time, geometric abstraction had become the symbol of artistic modernity in Venezuela, as evidenced by the growing international reputations of Venezuelan artists Alejandro Otero, Jesús Rafael Soto, and Carlos Cruz-Diez. Gego developed a distinctive approach to geometric abstraction, and this signature style reflects her training in architecture and engineering. Her work is characterized by the use of delicate three-dimensional lines, often made of steel wire. Through their interaction with a complex system of knots, these lines expand into space, both defining a volume and exposing the work's construction.

In 1957, as many of her contemporaries began making kinetic work, Gego initiated a series of sculptures with which she attempted to challenge the conventions associated with static artworks. Though her sculptures appear to be in motion, this is an illusion produced by the movement of the viewer. This effect, known as parallax, is particularly evident in Split (1959) and Sphere (1959), two works that use bold graphic lines replicated along different parallels.

Gego’s large Reticulárea, created at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas in 1969, consists of an expansive, modular wire grid that unfolds into the gallery space across the floor, walls, and ceiling, welcoming visitors to immerse themselves in its disorienting, constellation-like structure. This work marked the beginning of a major chapter in the artist’s career, during which she turned to a series of complex three- and two-dimensional compositions. These have an organic and ethereal character, with fragile, almost precarious grids. Some, in their shapes and titles, are reminiscent of natural phenomena, such as Streams (Chorros), Trunks (Troncos), Weavings (Tejeduras), and Meshes (Mallas).

Note: The opening quote is from María Fernanda Palacios, “Conversación con Gego,” in Ideas, Revista de diseño y comunicación visual (Caracas, Venezuela), May 1972, 26.

Catalina Acosta-Carrizosa, Research Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, 2016

Leer en español

Figura emblemática de la abstracción en las décadas de 1960 y 1970 en Venezuela, Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt) nació en 1912 en Hamburgo, Alemania, y en 1938 se graduó en ingeniería y arquitectura en la Universidad de Stuttgart. Tras el estallido de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, emigró a Venezuela y en 1939 se instaló en Caracas.

Gego comenzó su carrera artística en la década de 1950. Por entonces, la abstracción geométrica se había convertido en símbolo de la modernidad artística en Venezuela, como se puede ver en el creciente prestigio internacional de los artistas venezolanos Alejandro Otero, Jesús Rafael Soto y Carlos Cruz-Diez. Gego desarrolló un particular acercamiento a la abstracción geométrica, un estilo muy personal que refleja su formación en arquitectura e ingeniería. Su obra se caracteriza por el uso de delicadas líneas tridimensionales, generalmente de alambre de acero. Interactuando mediante un complejo sistema de nudos, estas líneas se expanden en el espacio definiendo un volumen y revelando, al mismo tiempo, la construcción de la obra.

En 1957, cuando varios de sus contemporáneos empezaron a realizar obras cinéticas, Gego emprendió una serie de esculturas con las que intentaba desafiar las convenciones de las obras de arte estáticas. Aunque sus esculturas parecen estar en movimiento, en realidad se trata de una impresión producida por el movimiento del espectador. Este efecto, conocido como paralaje, es particularmente evidente en Split (1959) y Sphere (1959), dos obras que emplean enérgicas líneas gráficas que se repiten siguiendo distintas paralelas.

La gran Reticulárea de Gego, creada en 1969 en el Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas, consiste en una extensa y modular red de alambre que se despliega en el espacio de la galería a lo largo del suelo, las paredes y el techo, invitando a los visitantes a sumergirse en su inquietante estructura en forma de constelación. Esta obra señaló el inicio de un período importante en la carrera de la artista, en el que se dedicó a una serie de complejas composiciones tridimensionales y bidimensionales. Estas piezas tienen un carácter orgánico y etéreo, formado por cuadrículas frágiles, casi inestables. Las formas y los títulos de algunas hacen pensar en fenómenos naturales, como Streams (Chorros), Trunks (Troncos), Weavings (Tejeduras) y Meshes (Mallas).

Catalina Acosta-Carrizosa, asistente de investigación del Departamento de Dibujos y Grabados, 2016.

Traducción al español por Carmen M. Cáceres

Wikipedia entry
Introduction
Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt (1 August 1912 – 17 September 1994), known as Gego, was a modern Venezuelan visual artist. Gego is perhaps best known for her geometric and kinetic sculptures made in the 1960s and 1970s, which she described as "drawings without paper".
Wikidata
Q2698511
Information from Wikipedia, made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License
Getty record
Introduction
Venezuelan artist, born in Germany and trained there as an architect.
Nationalities
Venezuelan, German
Gender
Female
Roles
Artist, Architect, Installation Artist, Sculptor
Names
Gego, Gertrudis Goldschmidt, Gertrud Goldschmidt, Gertrud Luise Goldschmidt, Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt), Gertrud Louise Goldschmidt
Ulan
500117602
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License

Works

73 works online

Exhibitions

Publications

  • MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art Flexibound, 408 pages
  • MoMA Now: Highlights from The Museum of Modern Art—Ninetieth Anniversary Edition Hardcover, 424 pages
Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].