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Biography

GREGORIO VARDANEGA
[1923, Italy - 2007, France]

Born in Possagno, Italy, Gregorio Vardanega’s family relocated to Buenos Aires, Argentina when he was three years old. As a young man, he studied in the Escuela de Bellas Artes (1939-1946) in Buenos Aires and graduated as a professor of drawing. In 1946, he participated in the exhibitions organized by the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención (AACI), and two years later, he traveled with Uruguayan artist Carmelo Arden Quin to Europe. The trip was an important moment in the artist’s formation; a year later, he showed work at the Salon d’Amérique Latine in Paris, and this exhibition put him in contact with prominent figures involved in Paris’s growing kinetic movement, including Denise René, Georges Vantongerloo, Nicolas Pevsner, Sonia Delaunay, Max Bill, and Constantin Brancusi. When he returned to Buenos Aires, he began making his earliest kinetic works, using metal bands and celluloid.

At the center of many of Argentina’s avant-garde artistic circles, Vardanega was a founding member of the Asociación Arte Nuevo in 1955 and, the following year, of Agrupación de "Arte no Figurativo Argentino." In 1957, he was included in the group exhibition 14 Pintores abstractos at the Galería Galatea in Buenos Aires. He received the gold medal in the Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium in 1958 and was included in the IV Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil.

In 1959, Vardanega moved to Paris with Martha Boto and began experimenting with Plexiglas spheres illuminated with moving projections of colored lights. All his subsequent work explored the aesthetic of light, movement, color, and electronic programs. He was especially drawn to the cultural phenomenon of machines that “think.” As did many kinetic artists, Vardanega thought of his work as being in dialogue with architecture and urban planning. He hoped his towers and light works would be accompanied by music and other modes of performative work; he considered many of the sculptures to be prototypes for large-scale public projects.

His first major exhibition in Paris, Chromocinétisme (1964), was a two-person show with Boto at La Maison des Beaux-Arts in Paris. His work has subsequently been included in numerous important surveys of kinetic art.

Vardanega died in Paris in 2007.

Vardanega’s works have been shown in numerous important exhibitions, including Dynamo: A Century of Light and Motion in Art, 1913-2013, Grand Palais, Paris, France (2013); An Open Mind, Maddox Arts, London, England, UK (2017); Electra, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France (1983); Escultura, Objeto, Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires (MAMBA), Argentina (2005); Lo[s] Cinético[s], Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS), Madrid, Spain (2007); Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Texas, USA (2012); Line into Space, Connecting Currents: Contemporary Art at the Fine Arts Museum Houston in the inaugural installation of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Texas, USA (2020); Lumière, Mouvement et Optique, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium (1964); and Kinesthesia: Latin American Kinetic Art, 1954–1969, Palm Springs Art Museum, California, USA (2017).

Vardanega’s works are represented in numerous collections around the world, including Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin, USA; Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (MAM Paris), France; Musée National d’Art Moderne - Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA), Argentina; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (MAM Rio), Brazil; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Texas, USA; and Muzeon Tel Aviv Leomanut, Tel-Aviv, Israel.

SELECTED SOLO & GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2022
Abstract Art Beyond the Frame, Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, CA, USA
Light & Darkness, Power Collection, Chau Chak Wing Museum, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, Australia

2020
Line into Space,” Connecting Currents: Contemporary Art at the Fine Arts Museum Houston in the inaugural installation of the Nancy and Rich Kinder Building, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, (MFAH), TX, USA

2017
Kinesthesia: Latin American Kinetic Art, 1954–1969, Palm Springs Art Museum, Palm Spring, CA
An Open Mind, Maddox Arts, London, UK

2015
Un tournant | A turning point: Antonio Asis, Martha Boto, Horacio García Rossi, Hugo De Marziani, Gregorio Vardanega, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA
60 ans de Mouvement, 1ères Générations, Galerie Denise René, Paris, France

2013
Dynamo: A Century of Light and Motion in Art, 1913-2013, RMN, Grand Palais, Paris, France

2012
Constructed Dialogues: Concrete, Geometric and Kinetic Art from the Latin American Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Houston, TX, USA
Real/Virtual, Arte Cinético Argentino de los Años Sesenta, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

2009
North Looks South: Building the Latinamerican Art Collection, Upper Brown Pavilion, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Houston, TX, USA
Color into Light: Selections from the MFAH Collection, Upper Brown Pavilion, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Houston, TX, USA

2007
Lo[s] Cinético[s], Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain

2006
Contact: Le cyber-cosmos de Boto et Vardanega, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, TX, USA
Appel Design, Berlin, Germany
Kinetische Kunst: Ver-rückte Ansichten, Städtisches Museum Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Light and Shadow, Galerie von Bartha, Basel, Switzerland

2005
Lichtkunst aus Kunstlicht, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany
Escultura, Objeto, Museo de Arte Moderno Buenos Aires (MAMBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina
L’Œil moteur, Art optique et cinétique, 1950-1975, Musée d'Art Moderne et Contemporain (MAMCS), Strasbourg, France

2004
Moving Parts: Forms of the Kinetic, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland; Kunsthaus, Graz, Austria

2003  
Arte Abstracto, Argentino Fundación PROA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

2001
Abstract Art from the Rio de la Plata: Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Americas Society, New York, NY, USA
Denise René: L’intrépide, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2000
Fluorescence, Galerie Denise René, Rive Gauche, Paris; Espace Marais, Paris

1999
Art Construit, Art Cinétique d’Amérique Latine, Galerie Denise René, Paris, France

1992
L’Art en Mouvement, Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul de Vence, France

1984
Carte blanche à Denise René, Paris Art Center, France
Face à la Machine, Maison de l’Amérique Latine, Paris, France

1983
Electra, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France

1982   
L’Amérique Latine à Paris, Grand-Palais, Paris, France

1976
Centre d’action culturelle “Les Gémeaux,” Sceaux, France

1969
Galerie Denise René, Paris, France

1968
Art Cinétique, Maison de la Culture, Grenoble, France
Denise René à Londres, Redfern Gallery, London, UK

1967
Lumière et Mouvement, Art Cinétique à Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
Structures, Lumière et Mouvement, Galerie Denise René, Paris, France
Light Motion Space, Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN, USA; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA

1965
Sigma I, Galerie des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux, France
Argentina en el mundo. Artes visuales 2, Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1964
Maison des Beaux-Arts, C.R.O.U.S., Paris, France
Mouvement 2, Galerie Denise René, Paris, France
Hanover Gallery, London, UK
Lumière, Mouvement et Optique, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium

1963
L’Art Latino-américain, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France

1962
Trente Argentins de la Nouvelle Génération, Galerie Creuze, Paris, France
Musée du Havre, Paris, France

1959
Galería H, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1958
L’Art visuel en Argentine, Exposition universelle et internationale, Brussels World Fair, Brussels, Belgium (Gold Medal)

1957
IV Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil

1956
Galería Estímulo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1955
Galería Galatea, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Selected Public Collections

Centro de Artes Visuales del Instituto Torcuato di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO), Miami, FL, USA

Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris, France

Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, Australia

Kemper Museum, Kansas City, MO, USA

Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI, USA

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville, Paris, France

Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Latinoamericano (MACLA), La Plata, Argentina

Museo de Arte Latinoamericano (MALBA), Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Museu de Arte Moderna de Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH), Houston, TX, USA

Museum of Geometric and MADI Art, Dallas, TX, USA

Recklinghausen Museum, Recklinghausen, Germany

Rembrandt van Rijn Foundation, The Cape, South Africa

Tel-Aviv Museum of Art, Tel-Aviv, Israel