No es sólo lo que ves: Pervirtiendo el minimalismo is one of five exhibitions from Versiones del Sur dedicated to Latin American art and held simultaneously at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Sabatini building, the Palacio de Velázquez and Palacio de Cristal between late 2000 and early 2001. With various curators, the five exhibitions look at the particularities, connections and fragmentation of Latin American art from its beginnings until its most recent artistic creations from different points of view.
The title of this exhibition refers to a phrase Frank Stella said in 1966 in regards to his own work: "What you see is what you see", which becomes the minimalist movement’s motto. The Cuban curator Gerardo Mosquera, denies the tautology of the American artist and brings together the work of artists who consciously use minimalist strategies, despite not following the original precepts of the movement when expanding their formal guidelines. In total the collection consists of about thirty works from thirteen artists, including Cruzeiro do Sul (1969-1970), a piece by Cildo Meireles that perfectly sums up the basic idea of the exhibition because of its inverted monumentality and the importance of the materials used.
Unlike the other exhibitions in Versiones del Sur, this one includes artists from regions outside Latin America. A rigor of the source was avoided in order to be able to display the most frequent manifestations of artistic experience in Latin America whether or not they originated from that area. This decision allows the visitor to find works by Belgian Wim Delvoye or Santiago Sierra from Madrid among others. Both artists have, however, a controversial side outside minimalism but the fact that their intentions do not coincide with the movement does not prevent them from resorting to certain shared guidelines.
Geometry, the module and repetition are the predominant features of minimalism in the works of the artist Félix González-Torres, Mona Hatoum and Byron Kim. These artists, unlike Meireles, work in the United States or Britain, where minimalism receives more attention. Conversely, the Colombian artist María Fernanda Cardoso also accepts and reinterprets her inheritance in Dancing Frogs (1990), a work referring to pre-Hispanic depictions of the gods as animal-like.
The Brazilian Rivane Neuenschwander presents Trabalho dos dias (1998) where he adds organic dimensions to geometric patterns, a component that is also very present in the work of other internationally successful compatriots.
The South African Willem Boshoff, the Brazilian Iran do Espirito Santo, the Finn Kaisu Koivisto, the Paraguayan Fátima Martini, and Costa Rican Priscilla Monge complete this international exhibition where the acceptance and reversal of trends that contemporary art is capable of is made quite clear.