Agustín Cárdenas Forme verticale

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Agustín Cárdenas
Forme verticale
Incised with the initials ACA and dated 63 (lower left); incised with the initials ACA and dated indistinctly (on the reverse)
Painted burnt wood
222.3 by 31.1 by 20.3 cm (87½ by 12¼ by 8 in.) (including base)

The artist (until at least 1971)
Private Collection

Brussels, Galerie Arcanes, Cárdenas, 1968, no. 17
Turin, Galleria La Busola, Agustín Cárdenas, 1969, illustrated

'Exposition Cárdenas,' Chefs d’œuvres de l’art, 1965, no. 113
J. Pierre and M. Franck, La Sculpture de Cárdenas, Brussels, 1971, no. 152, figs. 69 and 117, illustrated (dated 1965; illustrated in photographs p. 108)

Executed in 1963. As a Cuban-born artist who spent the formative years of his career among an influx of Latin American avant-garde artists in Paris in the 1950s, Agustín Cárdenas developed a highly distinctive Afro-Caribbean aesthetic. The artist’s totems, which he first began to construct in 1954, blended the traditions of Afro-Cuban ritual with the modern sculptural practices of artists like Henry Moore, Jean Arp, and Constantin Brancusi, all of whom were major influences on Cárdenas. For Forme verticale, Cárdenas burnt wood to attain a glossy black patina. Cárdenas materials are as integral to his sculptural work as their form. Organic at its core, Forme verticale evokes arboreal forms found in nature, while simultaneously presenting as a formal object carefully sculpted by the hands of an artist. As Édouard Glissant, the French philosopher, poet, and good friend of Cárdenas, once said of the artist’s sculptures: “one can sense at once the presence of history. . . . But we are subject always to an injunction of the sculptor, through which he leads us to an illumination that is of our time.”[1]
[1] E. Glissant, "The Legendary World of Cárdenas," in Agustín Cárdenas, Chicago: Richard Feigen Gallery, 1961, 11-13.

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