Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt)
Venezuelan, born Germany. 1912–1994
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).
Introduction by Catalina Acosta-Carrizosa, Research Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints, 2016
Artist’s Choice: Yto Barrada—A Raft
Through Jan 9, 2022
413: Touching the Void
Sur moderno: Journeys of Abstraction—The Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Gift
Oct 21, 2019–Sep 12, 2020
The Long Run
Nov 11, 2017–May 5, 2019
Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction
Apr 15–Aug 13, 2017
- Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt) has online.
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