November 30, 2006 - Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) - Two Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection
November 30, 2006

Two Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection

(LEFT)Forms of Classification: Alternative Knowledge and Contemporary Art
Mark Dion Rescue Archaeology (Lockers), 2005
Mixed media, 88 x 81 x 32 inches (223.5 x 205.7 x 81.3 cm) overall
Courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, USA
Photo: © Christopher Burke Studio
(RIGHT) The Sites of Latin American Abstraction
Waldemar Cordeiro, Untitled, 1949, Oil on canvas
28 7/8 x 21 1/2 x 1 3/4 inches (73.5 x 54.5 cm)
Courtesy Cordeiro Family Photo: © Oriol Tarridas

Two Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection
December 6, 2006-February 18, 2007

Breakfasts @ CIFO: December 6-7 & 9-10, 9 AM 12 PM
December 11-17, 2006: 10 AM 4 PM
CIFO Art Space, 1018 North Miami Avenue<, downtown Miami
For more information, call 305.455.3380 or log onto
To schedule an appointment for a viewing or guided tour (groups of 5 or more), please call 305.455.3385 
Please note that the CIFO Art Space will be closed December 18, 2006 – January 3, 2007.
Hours after January 4th: Thursday-Sunday, 10:00 am 4:00 pm and by appointment only

Two Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection
The Sites of Latin American Abstraction
Forms of Classification: Alternative Knowledge and Contemporary Art

The Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) presents Two Selections from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection. This year, the selections consist of The Sites of Latin American Abstraction curated by Juan Ledezma and Forms of Classification: Alternative Knowledge and Contemporary Art curated by CIFOs Director & Chief Curator, Cecilia Fajardo-Hill. Two Selections opens on December 6th, 9 AM Noon. The exhibition will be on view until February 18, 2007.

Ella Fontanals-Cisneros began collecting art in the 1970s. Today, the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection is a diverse and broad internationally renown contemporary art collection. The Collection encompasses three major areas of interest: Geometric Abstract Art primarily from Latin America; Contemporary Art with an emphasis on Video Art and Contemporary Photography highlighting architecture.
The Sites of Latin American Abstraction is a unique historical exhibition consisting of over 100 artworks. Ella Fontanals-Cisneros explains, The curator, Juan Ledezma, takes a fresh approach to the subject of Latin American abstract art, both visually and conceptually. Sites brings together the fascinating and distinctive, abstract-geometric art production in Latin America, particularly from Argentina and Uruguay, Brazil, and Venezuela, concentrating on the period comprising the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

Curator Cecilia Fajardo-Hill invites the viewer to experience the various forms of classification inventorying, collecting and listing in Forms of Classification: Alternative Knowledge and Contemporary Art. The artworks featured in this exhibition offer possibilities to suspend, expand and challenge our perception of acquired knowledge, as they propose alternative ways of thinking about ourselves, the world, culture and history. Many of these artists have found their way into the collection in a strange way, probably more from a feeling hidden within me than from any conscious choice, but certainly leaving me with a profound sense of satisfaction as a collector, explains Fontanals-Cisnernos.

CIFO Art Space is located at 1018 North Miami Avenue in downtown Miami. For more information, call 305.455.3380 or log onto To schedule an appointment for a viewing or guided tour (groups of 5 or more), please call 305.455.3385.

CIFO, the Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, is a non-profit organization, established in 2002 by Ella Fontanals-Cisneros and her family to foster cultural and educational exchange within the visual arts. CIFO has three primary initiatives: CIFO Art Space a permanent venue for the presentation of engaging and provocative contemporary art exhibitions highlighting works from the Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection, works by its grantees and commissioned artists and experimental, challenging art programs; the Grants and Commissions Programs supporting emerging and mid-career contemporary multi-disciplinary artists from Latin America; and offering support to other cultural endeavors including Miami Art Central.

The Sites of Latin American Abstraction
Curated by Juan Ledezma
Artists featured in exhibition:
Getrude Altschul, Carmelo Arden Quin, Hércules Barsotti, Ubi Brava, Martín Blaszko, Feliza Bursztyn, Sérgio de Camargo, Lothar Charoux, Marta Chilindron, Lygia Clark, Horacio Coppola, Waldemar Cordeiro, Carlos Cruz-Diez, Geraldo de Barros, Amilcar de Castro, Willys de Castro, Eduardo Enfelt, Manuel Espinosa, Eugenio Espinosa & Claudio Perna, Leon Ferrari, Thomaz Farkas, Ivo Ferreira Da Silva, Lucio Fontana, María Freire, Gaspar Gasparian, Gego, Mathias Goertiz, Elsa Gramcko, Ann Marie Heinrich, Carmen Herrera, Alfredo Hlito, Nelson Kojranski, Judith Lauand, Nelson Leirner, Julio LeParc, Gerd Leufert, German Lorca, Raúl Lozza, Sameer Makarius, Anna Maria Maiolino, Adelmar Manarini, Leo Matiz, Juan Mele, Juan Alberto Molemberg, Mauricio Noguiera Lima, Hélio Oiticica, Alejandro Otero, Abraham Palatnik, Lygia Pape, Mercedes Pardo, Cesar Paternosto, Paulo Pires, Lidy Prati, Alejandro Puente, Hector Ragni, Luiz Sacilotto, Mira Schendel, Antonieta Sosa, Jesús Soto, Grete Stern, Rubens Teixeira Scavone, Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Alfio Trovato, Alfredo Volpi, and Jose Yalenti

The Sites of Latin American Abstraction, curated by Juan Ledezma, which draws on an important area of the collectionabstract-geometric art from Latin Americaproposes a mapping of the geometric traditions in the continent, from the perspective of establishing a sense of cultural identity through abstraction.

It is striking that, beginning with Joaquín Torres-García in the 1930s, artists in Latin Americaspecifically, in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, and Venezueladecided that geometric abstraction should be the vehicle for forging a new, modern sense of identity in a continent with strong cultural roots. At its core, geometric abstract art is nonrepresentational, the deployment of simple geometric shapes in nonillusionistic space. It proposes to be an art that refers to itself, to the space and surface contained within the picture plane or sculptural form. Ledezma addresses how a sense of cultural identity may stem from diverse forms of geometric abstraction, both aesthetically and conceptually. He deals with the contradictions of an artistic project that attempts to form a specifically Latin American identity using an artistic language that is neither based on inherited local traditions, nor associated with a narrative of identity. According to Ledezma, it is precisely because of that disjunction that the idea of forging a distinct, specifically Latin American identitycould arise as a project.

This exhibition does not occur in a vacuum. In recent years we have witnessed important international shows that addressed the abstract-geometric tradition in Latin America. (1) The fact remains, however, that this rich and complex artistic tradition is still widely unknown, especially if we compare it to the vast and long-standing awareness, through exhibitions and publications, of the abstract-geometric traditions both in Europe and in the United States. We hope with this exhibition to contribute to its further dissemination.
The Sites of Latin American Abstraction is unusual in the fact that, on the one hand, it is strongly grounded in academic research, and on the other, it proposes an unorthodox and dynamic museographical display. Ledezma presents three concrete sites of abstraction: the grid, writing, and public space. But these sites are neither presented in separate and well-defined spaces, nor are they arranged chronologically, geographically, or by media. Over one hundred artworks, ranging from drawings to painting, sculpture, and photography, are presented according to unexpected visual structural analogies that offer both new approaches to looking at the geometric abstract art from Latin America, and an alternative way of presenting a historical exhibition.

(1) Inverted Utopias: Avant-garde Art in Latin America, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, 2004; Beyond Geometry: Experiments in Form 1940s-70s, Los Angeles County Museum of Art ; 2004; Force Fields, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Barcelona, 2000 ; are some of the most recent important exhibitions touching on the subject of Abstract Geometric art in Latin America.

Forms of Classification: Alternative Knowledge and Contemporary Art
Curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill

Artists featured in exhibition:
Francis Alÿs, Bernd & Hilla Becher, Mark Dion, Jimmie Durham, Ellen Gallagher, Joseph Grigely, Susan Hiller, Jac Leirner, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Allan McCollom, Damián Ortega, Julian Rosenfeldt, Chen Shaoxiong, Nedko Solokov, Mathilde ter Heijne and Monica Weiss

Forms of Classification is an exhibition of contemporary art that focuses on the possibilities that art may offer of knowing/thinking about the world today, beyond normatives of convention. Knowledge and classification go hand in hand, in the same way that classification is interchangeable with the indexical. Art constitutes a powerful form of classification, both within its own systemfor example, through the hierarchies established in art history, and the inclusion/exclusion determined by art criticism and the art institutionand as a determining factor in how we view the world.

Perhaps one of the most important things that the artworks in this exhibition propose is to look beyond the surface of things and to explore objects, situations, and histories beyond the generalized act of naming, which replaces a deeper and more personal form of knowledge. Our constant form of relating with the world is through the infinite act of indexation, which becomes a normative and controlling system of knowing that finally appears to be the natural state of things. This exhibition is about dispelling this normative form of classification.

The works here do not function as a form of logically ordering the world; they are about expanding narrow definitions, about moving away from the known surface, in unexpected directions. Jimmie Durham, one of the artists participating in this show, writes: Im interested in the phenomena of the cultural meaning that fills things up, more than the specifics of the meaning or the specifics of the memory.(1) It is from this cultural meaning that the artists in Forms of Classification explore the ways in which knowledge is constructed.

The Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection is deeply committed both to collecting contemporary art with a broad international focus, including emerging and established artists; and to producing unusual and innovative exhibitions that offer challenging perspectives on art today. The Collection is interested in artworks that address a wide range of critical issues that are relevant to our contemporary existence. This exhibition addresses specifically the issue of classification, though many more aspects are central to both the works presented here today and the rest of our contemporary art collection, including the art institution, the human condition, gender issues, memory, history, and the everyday.

Above all, this is a playful and open-ended exhibition.

(1) Jimmie Durham, in Faret Tachikawa Art Project, (Tokyo: 1994), p. 289

Ella Fontanals-Cisneros Collection

Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO)
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