Gego. Line as Object

Henry Moore Institute

24 July – 19 October 2014

The artist's work explores the limitless possibilities of the line.

Gego, 'Reticulárea (ambientación)', 1969

Born Gertrud Goldschmidt in Hamburg 1912, Gego emigrated to Caracas immediately after finishing her architectural studies in Stuttgart. She spent the rest of her life living and working in Venezuela, and in 1952 she was granted official citizenship.

It was only after moving to Venezuela that Gego began practising as an artist. Over the course of five decades she explored the potential of the line, expanding into new spaces, planes and volumes. However, the artist refused to define this work as sculpture. In her notebook she asserts: 'Sculpture, three-dimensional forms of solid material. Never what I do!' Instead she preferred to call them 'bichos', meaning 'little creatures'.

Beginning in 1957 and spanning up to 1991, the exhibition charts the evolution of her experimentation with the line. While she became known for creating large-scale nets, columns and spheres that filled gallery spaces, here a selection of her watercolours, ink drawings, prints and lithographs - similarly focused on the line - are also featured. 

These are joined by hand-sized sculptures Gego made from material she found in her studio and the works she created to stretch between the buildings in her home city of Caracas.

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One of her earliest experimentations with sculptural form was Vibration in Black (1957) - a torso-sized painted black aluminium object which hangs from the ceiling and responds to air movement. This is contrasted with works form her later career, such as the Tedejuras, which she created by interlacing paper strips of magazines, reproductions of her own works and gold cigarette wrappings.

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