The exhibition The concrete invention looks at the development of geometric abstraction in Latin America, and it encompasses the period spanning the 1930s through the 1970s.
Although this type of abstract art was developed initially in Europe, some South American artists, in the modern cities of Montevideo, Buenos Aires, São Paulo, Río de Janeiro and Caracas, also adopted it, considering it to be the language of a cosmopolitan and progressive future. Geometric abstraction thus became a vehicle of expression for an emerging continent that in the mid 20th century was busy exploring new political and cultural ideas.
The narrative of the exhibition is structured around the concept of artistic intention, considering artworks to be visual manifestos capable of expressing different conceptions about what art can and should do, and the role that art plays in society. Many of the artists took the time to write about their theories regarding these questions, in journal articles and polemical declarations in which they described the characteristics of a new artistic language which, despite its universal aspirations, had different meanings according to each different context.
The works included in this exhibition are grouped around the place and year of creation, and following the criteria of affinity among the artists. These criteria lead to the understanding that proximity in the use of artistic language does not necessarily translate into a common objective in terms of the purpose of their art. All of the works come from the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, one of the most important collections of contemporary Latin American art. Museo Reina Sofía has signed a collaboration agreement with this Collection to help deepen Europe's knowledge about Latin American art.
Visitors interested in the exhibition can delve further into these different intentionalities with a free iPad application or through the digital library available on the website www.lainvencionconcreta.org.