University Art Gallery shows Latin America on the move

6 July 2012

Luis Tomasello's 'Atmosphere Chromoplastique' No. 154, 1966, painted wood.
Luis Tomasello's 'Atmosphere Chromoplastique' No. 154, 1966, painted wood.

A new exhibition at the University of Sydney Art Gallery showcases the University's collection of Latin American kinetic (moving) art, a globally acclaimed genre with a low profile in Australia.

Vibration, Vibração, Vibración: Latin American Art of the 1960s and '70s draws on the University's Power Collection and is the second exhibition in a series of four marking the collection's 50th anniversary.

"Although modest by international standards, there is no comparable Latin American collection in Australia," says exhibition curator Dr Susan Best. "This is a rare opportunity for Australians to see some of the treasures in the Power Collection."

Artists featuring in the exhibition are from Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil, although the works were largely purchased in Paris by Gordon Thomson in 1967, when he was curator of the Power Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University.

Included in Vibration, Vibração, Vibración are works from Venezuela's Carlos Cruz-Diez and Jesús Rafael Soto. Argentinian artists include Julio Le Parc and Lucio Fontana.

While American states such as Texas and California have huge collections of the genre and the Tate Museum in London has a concerted policy to buy Latin American modern art, it remains relatively obscure in Australia.

"We went from having a European focus to one that moved to Asia, and nobody thought about moving sideways to Latin America," says Dr Best, a senior lecturer in art history at the University of New South Wales. "If you're looking at Latin American art from this era, often the strongest work is kinetic.

Flashing coloured lights, moving motors, rubber bands and reflected light are among the mechanisms that create movement in the exhibition. In addition, to the Power holdings, two videos will be shown that represent the work of leading female artists of the period, Gego and Lygia Clark.

Event details

What: Vibration, Vibração, Vibración: Latin American Art of the 1960s and '70s

When: 7 July to 13 September

Where: University Art Gallery, War Memorial Arch, northern end of the Quadrangle, Camperdown Campus. See map 

Opening hours: 10am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday

12pm to 4pm, first Saturday of each month

Closed on public holidays

Cost: Free

Contact: University Art Gallery on 02 9351 6883

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Media enquiries: Jocelyn Prasad, 02 9114 1382,

Katie Szittner, 02 9351 2261, 0478 316 809,