Cecilia Biagini Occupies a Space in Our Reality
Cecilia Biagini was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she began her journey as an artist and gained recognition. In 1998, Biagini permanently moved to New York where she co-founded The Hogar Collection and discovered a newfound inspiration to create sculpture. Her oeuvre is featured both nationally and internationally in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), Buenos Aires, The University of Texas San Antonio, and The New York Public Library.
Agua Viva, Biagini’s fourth solo exhibition at Ruiz-Healy Art, features painting, sculpture, and sound. In the spirit of abstraction, Biagini works freely through her tools emphasizing the themes of exploration and self-discovery. She states that in the modern world, where technology is a strong force she aims to maintain “the innocence of being,” giving her audience an opportunity to simply be through her arrangement of line, color, and depth.
In A Process of Development, the manipulation of space within the painting suggests both a macro and micro perspective of the world Biagini has created through Agua Viva. On the surface of the painting, a vibrant hue of red-orange envelops a distorted plane of colorful squares. This lively painting is most likely inspired by her time in Manhattan as she states that “one can view the painting as an aerial view of a city.” Echoing a map view of Manhattan, A Process of Development contains the grid-like structure and narrow shape of the city. Biagini states that the “rocky ground can be felt as one travels the streets of Manhattan.” The distorted plane in which the gridded structure occupies likely reflects Biagini’s experience of the city at a micro level.
Biagini’s paintings contain open space as an invitation for the viewer to enter the composition. The installation, Independent Source, can be interpreted as a painting brought to life. Instead of the viewer occupying a fictional space in a painting, the installation occupies a space in our reality. The installation contains the abstraction, colors, layers, and compositional structure that create optical barriers in the paintings without the restrictions of a canvas. The 360 degree view intended in Independent Source allows the viewer to admire the three-dimension and organic composition. For Biagini, sculpture is an opportunity to improvise with tools in which she expresses herself through them.
The innovative use of materials used to convey transformation are subtle but significant throughout the exhibition. One of the ways Biagini demonstrates her artistic process is through the use of small pieces of tape repeated in Mental Field and QFWFC. The use of tape to create layers and texture, as well as the imitation of it are important because they draw out the essences of the materials and allude to the transformation of the paintings. In Mental Field the indentation of the tape after it has been removed suggests the physicality of the tape in its absence. In removing the tape, Biagini also exposes layers beneath the surface of the painting highlighting the development of the artwork. QFWFC compliments Mental Field by suggesting a reversal of the process. Biagini creates an impression by placing tape on the white canvas and painting over it with a distintive color. In highlighting the tape, she implies that it is an additional layer on the surface of the canvas.
On the topic of achieving equilibrium, Biagini reveals that there is a fine line between resolving and losing the painting. There cannot be too much empty space, nor can there be too much-occupied space. Biagini finds that balance through trial and error, sometimes painting over the entire canvas and creating an entirely new painting.
Upon viewing Agua Viva, artist Jesse Amado described the exhibition as a nod to abstract expressionism, specifically Pollock’s drip paintings which he created by walking on large canvases as he poured paint onto them. Although Biagini’s technique differs from Pollock, the allusion of performance remains imprinted on her paintings. Moments of interactions between artist and artwork captured for her viewers to watch unfold before their eyes.
Written by Jeanette Gutierrez (Spring 2019 Intern)