Focusing on several trips Espinosa made to Europe during the ‘50s and ‘60s, the presentation explores his connections with European artists of the time - Josef Albers, Max Bill, Piero Dorazio and Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart - and their subsequent influence on his work. The presentation at Frieze Masters will be accompanied by a newly commissioned essay by Dr Flavia Frigeri, contributing an in-depth understanding of Espinosa's positioning within post-war abstraction.
Frigeri writes: "Unlike his cultural forefathers, Espinosa was not lured by the qualities of classical and Renaissance Europe, but what propelled him to cross an ocean and spend an extended period of time away from home was the need to establish a dialogue with his abstract-concrete European peers. With the help of Tomás Maldonado, his long-time friend and co-founder of the group Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención (Concrete-Invention Art Association), who first visited Europe in 1948, Espinosa outlined an itinerary for his Grand Tour that took him to Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Holland. During his travels he made contact with leading figures of post-war geometrical abstraction, including Max Bill, Piero Dorazio, Georges Vantongerloo and Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, among many others. The journey, as much as the encounters, proved revelatory in shaping Espinosa's ideas around art for many years to come."
All these relationships and influences were fundamental to Espinosa's artistic development, engendering a period of intense experimentation throughout the 1960s which resulted in some of his major works, a number of which will be on display. The presentation brings much needed international context to the art historical relevance of Espinosa's practice, shining a light on the visual, conceptual and formal parallels that can be drawn between his work and that of his European counterparts.
Manuel Espinosa was born in 1912 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and died in 2006. The exhibition at Frieze Masters coincides with a two-person exhibition of Espinosa and Luis Tomasello's work at MACBA, Buenos Aires, Argentina opening in September 2019.
Recent solo exhibitions include those at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK (2018); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Salta, Argentina, touring to Museo Emilio Caraffa, Córdoba, Argentina (2015); Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, UK (2014); Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2013); Sicardi Gallery, Houston, Texas, USA (2013); Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Neuquén, Argentina (2009); Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2003) and Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes, Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina (2001).
Espinosa's works are included in prominent international collections including Fondo Nacional de los Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas, USA; Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas Sofía Imber, Caracas, Venezuela; Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, USA; Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, New York, USA.