To mark the end of the documentary exhibition The Weight of Form. The Graphic Design of Carlos Cruz-Diez, the Museo Reina Sofía organises Modern South, a conversation which, starting from Carlos Cruz-Diez’s graphic and publishing work, explores different areas related to graphic art in Venezuela, comparing it to events in other Latin American countries, in addition to the subsequent evolution of graphic design in the region.
The generation of designers who were contemporaries of Cruz-Diez played a key role in consolidating and professionalising the graphic industry in Latin America, contributing to a shift in a company becoming more than just technicians and typographers to one where design added the visual artist’s chromatic and formal sensibility to the profession. Artists imbibed new ideas around design that were taking shape in Europe — via contact with European migrant artists such as Mauricio Amster, Gerd Leufert, Nedo Mion, Miguel Prieto and Attilio Rossi — while also working out how to construct their own language, incorporating characteristics from their cultures and Latin American art.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the trail left by Cruz-Diez spread throughout other artists who conjugated the influences of first-generation designers with new art movements that were surfacing not only in countries from the South, but also countries in Europe, and particularly in North America. By the same token, they had to confront numerous challenges, such as that represented by, technically and in terms of artistic language, the appearance of digital design in the 1990s.
The activity gets under way with a virtual tour through the document-based show, before moving on to an intervention by designer David Carballal and historian Horacio Fernández, and concluding with a conversation between both speakers and Ariel Jiménez, curator of the exhibition.
David Carballal is a graphic designer and exhibition curator. He has designed communication programmes and different publications for institutions that include the Fine Arts Department from the University of Vigo; the Luis Seoane Foundation; the Barrié Foundation; Museo Centro Gaiás-Cidade da Cultura, Santiago; Museo Marco, Vigo; the Real Academia Galega; and the Complutense University of Madrid. From 2004 to 2010, he oversaw the design of four collections in Ediciones del Viento, and in 2018 he curated the exhibition Cómo se imprime un libro: Grafistas e impresores en Buenos Aires: 1936-1950 in the Cervantes Institute of Madrid and, more recently, Moscoso Cosmos: The Visual Universe of Víctor Moscoso, in the Luis Seoane Foundation, A Coruña.
Horacio Fernández is a historian of photography and a curator who has overseen exhibitions that include Public Photography. Photography in Print 1919–1939 (Museo Reina Sofía, 1999), photobooks. Spain 1905–1977 (Museo Reina Sofía, 2014) and Miserachs Barcelona (MACBA, 2015), shows in which the photobook is the centrepiece. Between 2004 and 2006, he was head curator of the PhotoEspaña International Festival of Photography and Visual Arts.
Ariel Jiménez is a historian, museologist and the curator of a broad number of modern and contemporary art exhibitions held in centres in Venezuela, Latin America and the USA. He has worked with numerous public and private institutions in Venezuela, such as the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art (1984–1986), the Eugenio Mendoza Foundation, Caracas (1989–1997), the Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection (1997–2011) and the Jesús Soto Museum of Modern Art (2004–2006). He is currently an independent curator. His publications include monographs on artists like Carlos Cruz-Diez, Alfredo Boulton, Jesús Soto, Alejandro Otero, Ferreira Gullar and Waltercio Caldas.