23
23
Agustín Cárdenas (1927-2001)
DOGON
Estimate
125,000175,000
LOT SOLD. 225,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
23
Agustín Cárdenas (1927-2001)
DOGON
Estimate
125,000175,000
LOT SOLD. 225,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Latin America: Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Agustín Cárdenas (1927-2001)
DOGON
inscribed with artist initials and dated 73 on the base 
white Carrara marble
Height: 55 in.; Diameter: 16 in.
140 cm; 41 cm
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Provenance

The Collection of Juan José Bellapart, Dominican Republic
Galería Nader, Dominican Republic 
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Catalogue Note

In 1961, Agustín Cárdenas exhibited his first works in marble at Galerie du Dragon in Paris. At the height of his creativity, this new group of sculptures marked a key shift in the artist’s focus from the forgiving media of wood and plaster towards a fascination with marble, and a mastery of his chosen discipline. Two years later he would relocate to Carrara, Italy, joining the growing community of modernist sculptors working at the marble quarries there. Dogon, sculpted in 1973, is an elegant example of the artist’s mature style. Having moved to Paris in 1955 on a Cuban government scholarship, Cárdenas joined the Surrealists, engaging in artistic explorations of the subconscious and the occult. Like fellow Surrealist Wifredo Lam, he also became involved in the négritude movement, examining aspects of shared artistic heritage across the African diaspora. Cárdenas’ simultaneous engagement with both schools led to a fruitful and nuanced interrogation of their ideas in his later work. His exploration of the intersections between identity and the subconscious, and between African and European culture, are manifest in full complexity in the present work.  

Dogon takes its name from the Dogon people of what is today central Mali, whose religion, philosophy, astronomical and medical knowledge were documented extensively by French anthropologist Marcel Griaule beginning in 1946. Although the accuracy of Griaule’s records of Dogon religion and history are disputed by scholars today, they were popular and widely influential in France, and were a likely source of inspiration for Cárdenas. The primary narrative in these texts focuses on the Nommo, the ancestral spirits worshipped by the Dogon. Griaule states, “Most of the conversations… turned largely on twins and on the need for duality and the doubling of individual lives. The Eight original Ancestors were really eight pairs… But after this generation, human beings were usually born single. Dogon religion and Dogon philosophy both expressed a haunting sense of the original loss of twin-ness. The heavenly Powers themselves were dual, and in their Earthly manifestations they constantly intervened in pairs…” [1] This tension between duality and unity, earthly and divine, negative and positive space, tangible and subconscious, is present in Dogon.      

At once anthropomorphic and abstract, in Dogon Cárdenas incorporates both the verticality of Dogon sculpture (fig. 1) and the soft, unearthly texture typical of surrealist aesthetics. Rendered in luminous white Carrrara marble, it evokes human vertebrae yet teases away straightforward interpretation, residing fully in the realm of dreams and the subconscious. Glissant characterizes this interplay as “a phenomenon rare in the world of invented forms: a universe which reveals the organic from the outset, light and shade knit together, patience behind the material, the inexhaustible alliance of the torrid and the nocturnal.”[2] Elusive and uncanny, Cárdenas’ Dogon elegantly embraces these dualities and comes alive with subconscious associations under the gaze of the spectator.

 

[1] Marcel Griaule, Conversations With Ogotemmêli: an Introduction To Dogon Religious Ideas., Oxford, 1965, p. 198

[2] José Pierre, La Sculpture de Cárdenas, Brussels, 1971, p. 136

Latin America: Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York