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11/27/2023 — 04/20/2024

LA ESCUELA___ Proposes to Activate Gego’s Legacy in the Public Space through Art and Education Projects in Caracas and Latin America

By revisiting the work and pedagogies of the Venezuelan-German artist Gego, LA ESCUELA___ proposes a series of artistic and educational projects to reactivate and project her ideas into the future. In this spirit, the program addresses current issues of mobility, migration, diasporas, and spatial site-specific practices across the Americas. It will unfold as on-site and online participatory projects with university students in Caracas, workshops in public schools in Latin America, the creation of an international collaborative network, and the construction and exhibition of a Gego-inspired collective structure. With this, the platform seeks to stimulate new dialogues and narratives about regional bonds, while exploring the potential of collaborative artistic and learning practices among artists, researchers, teachers, and students. This homage program is developed jointly with Fundación Gego and Sala Mendoza, in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut Venezuela, and in collaboration with the Fundación Sonia Sanoja - Alfredo Silva Estrada. Designed from and towards Latin America, the series is framed in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Gego’s passing. A key figure for twentieth century geometric abstraction, thanks to her contributions to the study of form in space, in this project, her work is understood through the lens of learning and collaboration.

Gego en el Instituto Neumann, 1978. Fotografía: Ricardo Goldman. Cortesía: Fundación Gego.

Since 2022, LA ESCUELA___ has been generating learning spaces throughout Latin America, approaching education as a situated and collective artistic practice. By collaborating with artists, thinkers, educators, communities, and institutions, the project weaves a translocal network of creative and research experiences of art and education, both historical and contemporary, in the public space. Thus, it provides a space for meeting and exchange around creative approaches to social and ecological issues in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Gego: Reticulárea CIR, Center for Interamerican Relations (Nueva York, 1969). Cortesía: Fundación Gego.

Trained as an architect in Germany and rooted in Venezuela since 1939, Gego (Hamburg, 1912 - Caracas, 1994) developed an experimental teaching practice in institutions such as the Faculty of Architecture of the Central University of Venezuela and the Design Institute of the Fundación Neumann. In her workshops, she implemented her own particular methodology, which combined technical rigor with the liberties inherent to art. These shared dynamics of study and experimentation constitute the node that articulates the reactivations proposed in this commemorative program of LA ESCUELA___. In this way, it seeks to explore new relationships and research on art and education, and to map Gego's contemporary legacies in Latin America.

With the coordination of Stefanie Reisinger, the program will run from November 2023 through April 2024, and will have Caracas as the main location for the on-site classrooms, with activations and programs in different Latin American cities.

CLASSROOM: How to Draw a Choreography?

The cycle begins with an educational project led by Berlin-based Venzuelan visual artist Sol Calero, in collaboration with Caracas-based choreographer and dancer Heysell Leal. Curated by Stefanie Reisinger, How to Draw a Choreography? is conceived of as an exploration around the “dance of an architecture.” Through exercises and practices carried out with architecture and live arts students, they intend to draw a choreography thought from the materiality of space. This classroom is developed in alliance with the Goethe-Institut Venezuela, in collaboration with the Fundación Sonia Sanoja – Alfredo Silva Estrada; with the participation of professors and students of Taller X of the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism of the Central University of Venezuela (FAU-UCV), and the community cultural association 100% San Agustín.

Sonia Sanoja performando Coreogegos, en el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Sofia Imber, Caracas, 1977. Fotografía: Adriana Meneses Imber. Cortesía: Fundación Sonia Sanoja – Alfredo Silva Estrada.

The participants will work on spatial, formal, and movement concepts based on the notions of participation, collaboration, and learning. They will do so taking the values developed in the prolific collaborative relationship between Gego and dancer, choreographer, poet, and educator Sonia Sanoja as a reference. The classroom intends to revisit the educational practices shared by both artists, seeking to access knowledge of these collaborative and informal dynamics through affective bonds. The research developed in How to Draw a Choreography? will manifest as ephemeral performative ‘actuaciones’—a term used by Sanoja to describe her work—in the surroundings of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, as well as in the barrio of San Agustín, a precarized urban context where dance and dancing gain new meanings.

CLASSROOM: Collective Reticulárea: Communal Cartographies

The program continues in the first quarter of 2024 with a remote participatory project and an on-site educational project conceptualized and led by artist Miguel Braceli. The classroom intends to build a large-scale installative structure, taking the Reticulárea—one of Gego’s most representative works for concretizing her research on spatial experience and drawing in the void—as a point of departure. This work is understood here as a meeting and learning space around collaboration, weaving networks on pedagogical practices, and developing communal bonds from diaspora, migrations, and mobility across the Americas.

Collective Reticulárea: Communal Cartographies is an educational project developed together with Fundación Gego, Sala Mendoza and Goethe-Institut Venezuela, in collaboration with a network of Venezuelan artists and students of the Taller X of the School of Architecture of the Central University of Venezuela, under the curatorship of Fundación Gego and Stefanie Reisinger. The activation of this collective work is proposed from two consecutive instances: as a space for collaborative construction through an open call to add pieces from anywhere in the world, and as an online educational space for teaching artists, using this work as a spatial-geometric learning tool. The project hopes to build a different cartography of the continent, where geopolitical borders are now replaced by bridges, flows, and exchanges that draw a new network.

“Considering the node as a design object, but also as an exchange space is a way of creating relationships in the context of displacements and diasporas; this allows us to learn from Gego's expansive work, to redimension the Reticulárea as a political communal territory through the link.”

Miguel Braceli
Reticulárea colectiva: cartografías comunes. Proyecto con estudiantes de arquitectura del Taller X FAU. Universidad Central de Venezuela. 2023. Foto: Jesús Briceño.

Open Call
The call invites people whose artistic, pedagogical, or research practices are nourished by or address the work of Gego. In this way, the project seeks to map contemporary legacies of the artist in Latin America, as well as to create a cartography of contemporary practices. A network of Venezuelan artists living abroad will offer their studio spaces as collection centers for the pieces-modules, which will later be shipped to Caracas for assembling. Esperanza Mayobre, Lucía Pizzani, Jaime Gili, Elías Crespin, Fabiola Arroyo, María Antonia Rodríguez, Beto Gutiérrez, Valentina Alvarado, Augusto Gerardi, Miguel Braceli, Andrés Michelena, Lenin (Federico) Ovalles, Elisa Bergel Melo, Camilo Barboza and Gabriela Quero are collaborating with their studios to receive pieces in Latin America, Europe and the United States, while the Goethe-Institut Venezuela will receive the contributions in Caracas. The pieces will be received from December 1 2023, through January 15 2024. Click here to learn more about the ways to participate.

The sum of all these diverse pieces will give shape to the Collective Reticulárea, which will be displayed at Sala Mendoza in Caracas. The exhibition will be open to the public from February 24 through April 20 2024, along with an educational program focused on broadening the panorama of Gego's pedagogical research and the relevance of her legacy for the history of art in Venezuela and Latin America.

“Gego was always a visionary, her Reticulárea was built with the hope of new and open forms of space that knew no hermetic borders.”

Stefanie Reisinger

Through this work, the project also alludes to Gego’s own condition as a German immigrant in Venezuela. Collective Reticulárea weaves a living network of people, practices, and research that speak of hemispheric diasporas, flows, and mobility.

This collaborative dynamics also articulates the working of the entire platform. Therefore, LA ESCUELA_ grows as it broadens and strengthens international bonds through collective learning experiences at the crossings of arts and education. The joint founders of LA ESCUELA_ are the artist and educator Miguel Braceli and the international nonprofit foundation Siemens Stiftung. It is based on Siemens Stiftung’s experience with co-creation programs and artistic interventions across Latin America and the artistic and educational works of Miguel Braceli in public spaces.

Learn more about this commemorative program and upcoming projects and publications of LA ESCUELA___ by subscribing to its newsletter.