The Argentine painter Roberto Aizenberg’s work draws the viewer into a world of architectonic purity and meditative beauty, a stark environment of geometric perfection. Born in 1928 to Russian immigrants in the rural Argentine village of Federal, Aizenberg knew from childhood that he would be a painter. After moving to the growing hub of Buenos Aires, he first studied as an architect, but returned to painting in 1950 when renowned Argentine Surrealist Juan Batlle Planas offered him mentorship. From Batlle Planas he learned the technique of automatism, as well as a deeply spiritual motivation to create and a classical rigor, all of which drove his painting throughout his life. Automatic drawing, for Aizenberg, was not just a technique to foment creativity, but rather to make contact with profound spiritual truth, and to penetrate through from superficial ideas to a universal plastic vocabulary that could speak to all humanity. As he grew as a painter throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the dual influences of Surrealism and of architecture, in particular that of the Italian Renaissance, become apparent in his fastidious paintings. He was recognized as a master by his own country in 1969 with a retrospective at the prestigious Instituto Torcuato di Tella, and his work began to gain international renown soon after, first with a solo exhibition at Galería Estudio Actual in Caracas in 1971, and later with his first solo exhibitions in Europe at Hanover Gallery in London, then at Gimpel & Hanover Gallery in Zurich in 1972 and 1973.
Aizenberg began the present Pintura in 1971 and finished in 1975, at the height of his career and just before a coup in Argentina forced him into exile in Italy. The gleaming surface of the work, its harmonious tones of azure and turquoise and the architectural perfection of its gently vibrating vertical forms invite the viewer into a realm of spiritual tranquility and contemplation. Its introspective beauty is emblematic of Aizenberg’s aesthetic project; for him, painting was “a spiritual investigation, an ascetic exercise like a type of zen gymnastics or archery, or like the work of an alchemist in search of pure gold” (Roberto Aizenberg in Rosa M. de Brill, Aizenberg: Pintores Argentinos del Siglo XX, Buenos Aires 1980, p. 2).
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