ANTONIO SEGUÍ

(August 7 – September 9, 2008)

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Dangerous Corner
Acrylic On Canvas, 120 x 120 cm., 2008
Dangerous Corner Some Without Work Resigned Small Town Lose Your Head

His first teacher was the painter Ernesto Farina of Córdoba. He traveled to Europe and Africa between 1951 and 1954, while studying painting and sculpture. He lived in Madrid while attending the Academia de San Fernando, and later enrolled in the Paris School of Fine Arts. He held his first solo show in Argentina in 1957. Starting in 1959, his works took on the caricaturesque style that typifies them, with a burlesque, humorous tone inspired by memories from his childhood. "... All of my work is related to my childhood here in Argentina. It is a historical reconstruction of my childhood: the sawn wooden toys I bought at fairs, pages from Billiken magazine, comic strips, political cartoons. And the women, who left the house rarely in those days, only to run an errand or two.” (Antonio Seguí, 2007) “Seguí has lived in a continual formal search that has led him, starting in the fifties, from neo-expressionism to post-pop neo-figuration. His return to the figurative, however, has been marked by the negation of the classical elements of the figure. With regard to his predilect themes, Seguí sees man as a prisoner of his world, of his own creations, something described very well in the recurring metaphors of the fishbowl, boxes, and the paintings themselves, from which the figures cannot escape despite their desperate attempts to do so. Situated in our contemporary world, the artist’s oeuvre is extremely critical of consumer culture, the society of the masses, and the senselessness with which many people live their everyday lives, products of the culture created over the last century and a source of sadness for many of his protagonists.” (Patricia Rodríguez, 2007) Thus, his works are centered around the urban landscape, with its motley buildings that hide and harbor swarming anonymous figures, self-absorbed, absorbed in their journey through their routines. All of them tell a story, one that shuts out the concerns or considerations of those who pass by their sides. Elegant men in their hats, masculine women (sometimes nude), and starving dogs make up the iconographic repertoire of the artist, who uses mockery and satire to depict the contemporary decadence of the big cities and their inhabitants. “Begun in the ‘50s, his oeuvre—that incessant work in progress—today forms a complex plot in which the themes and procedures enter, exit, disappear, and reappear like a constant hymn to the human tribe.” (Raul Santana, 2007) “For the painter, the idea is to express—and express again, always in a different way—this alienation that separates the individual from everything inherent to him, reducing him to only his social behavior, to a model image. To achieve this, Seguí makes indistinct use of the tragic and the comic, elegy and satire.” (Daniel Abadie, 2003) Antonio Seguí has exhibited his work at major museums and art galleries in Europe, Latin America, and the United States, including the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Carcassonne; Centre d’Art Contemporain, Mont-de-Marsan; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (France); Centro Cultural Recoleta; Centro Cultural Borges; Museo de Arte Moderno (Buenos Aires, Argentina); Durban-Segnini Gallery, Miami; Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, D.C. (United States); Centro de Arte Contemporáneo Wifredo Lam (Cuba); Museo Rufino Tamayo; Praxis Galería de Arte (Chile); and the Nishimura Gallery (Japan). In 2005, the Centre Georges Pompidou of the National Museum of Modern Art in Paris, France, held a retrospective of his work, bringing together major pieces completed between the 1950s and 2005, the first show of its kind that the institution dedicated to an Argentina artist. Among other awards, he won First Prize at the Third Annual Painting Salon of the A.C.A., Buenos Aires, Argentina (1961); the “National Museum of Western Art” Grand Prize at the Fifth International Print Biennale in Tokyo, Japan (1966); the Grand Prize at the International Salon in Havana, Cuba (1966); the Grand Prize at the Latin American Salon in San Juan, Puerto Rico (1966); a Medal of Honor at the Eighth International Engraving Biennale in Krakow, Poland (1980); the Premio Di Tella for Visual Arts, Buenos Aires, Argentina (1989); the Grand Prize of the Fondo Nacional de las Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina (1990); and the Konex Platinum Award for Visual Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2002); among others. Antonio Seguí lived in Paris since 1963, he moved then to Arcueil, where he now resides.