Gego, who was born Gertrud Goldschmidt in Germany in 1912, emigrated to Venezuela in 1939, and died in Caracas in 1994, was almost unknown in New York not so long ago. However, she has lately emerged as another heroine of the Latin American surge as well as a new feminist icon. Much of her work is so ethereal that it is nearly invisible—more disembodied line than substance, more space than solid—to the point where the term “sculpture” might once have been viewed as a stretch.
This exhibition was dominated by “Chorros” (Streams), cascading, light-catching, intricately entwined strings of wire and little metal pieces made in 1970 and 1971. The works were first shown at Betty Parsons Gallery in 1971 to little acclaim, during a period dominated by high Minimalism. Installed here together in one room, the sculptures flowed from ceiling to floor like rivulets of a waterfall and appeared more materially substantive than usual; their twisty loops are threaded together with deftness and ingenuity, their ultimate configuration determined by the specifics of the architecture.
Also on view were the “Tejeduras” (Weavings) from Gego’s last years in which she turned magazine pages, photographs, paper scraps, and other throwaways into collages that conjure textiles, recycling ordinary materials into something visually splendid, combining pragmatism and poetry.
A version of this story originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of ARTnews on page 82.