Magazine article Artforum International

Marie Orensanz: ROMAN ROAD

Magazine article Artforum International

Marie Orensanz: ROMAN ROAD

Article excerpt

Marie Orensanz featured recently in "Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985," a major traveling exhibition organized by the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. Her first solo show in London focused on a selection of her works made between 1974 and 2015. When I visited the exhibition, it was a sunny early-spring morning. The paper and marble pieces, exhibited in a bright space, seemed all white, some of them with hints of light blue and green, at first difficult to fully perceive. These minimal interventions required my eyes to adjust and focus. Gradually, the details became visible: lines, single words, equations, vectors, sentences. The title of the show--"Shutdown!"--referred to a formative moment of Orensanz's practice. When her installation El pueblo de la Gallareta (The Village of Gallareta), 1969, was shown in Argentina, the show was abruptly closed by censors under Juan Carlos Ongam'a's dictatorship. From that moment, Orensanz began seeking new ways to pass her views under the censors' radar. She turned toward poetry and mathematics to express her thoughts about the nature and power of the creative act.

Among the earliest works on view in this show were Pensar y communicar producen energia (Thinking and Communicating Produce Energy) and Pensar es un hecho revolucionario (Thinking Is a Revolutionary Act), both 1974. Each title is written out in Letraset against a strip of pale-blue paint imitating a cloudy sky. Around the words we saw vector arrows, which seemed to embody the idea of the flow of energy triggered by thinking. …

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