Loló Soldevilla, Parisian Collages from 1953 to 1970 at galeria Rui Freire-Fine Art

The exhibition Loló Soldevilla, Parisian Collages from 1953 to 1970 is on show at Rui Freire – Fine Art gallery.

Loló Soldevilla was a Cuban artist, born in 1901, who lived and worked in Paris between 1949 and 1956, where she developed an intense artistic practice.

The exhibition at Rui Freire gallery includes a group of abstract works, where the artist used the technique of gouache and collage.

In the works from this exhibition, we can see that the artist used the rotation of simple geometric elements on a flat background, intercepted or not by other elements, or sectioned by straight lines. The most common are simple shapes such as the square or semicircles, which establish a trajectory along the plane, clarified by colour.

On the flat surface, they recall the notion of movement or even an optical effect, which may lead the “reader” to a background of references or artistic movements that existed during the artist’s activity, such as Op Art or kinetic art.

Op Art, heir to Constructivism, presented examples of images that tested the possibility of deceiving the eye[1]. Another particularity of this movement was the proximity to pure forms and the use of the abstract, bearing in mind absolute precision and rigour[2].

Loló Soldevilla’s collages were accurate. This feature caused her work to be commented on by the art critic Roger van Gindertael in 1955[3], when the artist took part in a Paris exhibition with the Herta Wescher group (Arnaud Gallery). Gindertael included Loló in the category of artists whose work was rigorous. In that exhibition, the Herta Wescher group also had pieces by Victor Vasarely.

The artist’s precision and use of elementary geometric forms, as well as the care in choosing colours, were reminiscent of the Bauhaus period, according to Joseph Albers’ vision – colour as relationship, colour as “empirical study”.

According to Rafael DiazCasas[4], Loló Soldevilla in 1953, two years after joining the studio d’Art Abstrait, understood the importance of the relationship between form and colour[5].

In this sense, DiazCasas established comparisons between Loló’s works, such as Collage Vellado, 1957, and those of the Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto, who at the time was making works in acrylic, such as the Double Transparency series[6].

The confluences between some works by these two artists are impressive, even if there are chronological differences. Especially the works in gouache and graphite Plástico nº 1, Noches en Caracas and Untitled by Loló, quite similar to later works by Soto, such as Blanc et Couleur from 1975 or Vibration superieure from 1998.

During her stay in Paris, while working for the Cuban embassy, Loló, mingled with artists of various nationalities, such as George Koskas, Jean Arp, or John-Franklin Koening, among others. Soto was also one of these artists[7].

The artist Jesús Rafael Soto developed many pieces that resembled the language of Op Art, but also the movement’s perceptive experience.

Loló’s collages recall the idea of movement. Many of the elements in her compositions elicit kinetic stimuli. For example, Homenaje al 26 de Julio, 1954, a collage of small geometric elements on paper, reveals this principle. On a white, square background, the artist rhythmically positioned small circles, obeying an internal order and a reticulated grid. The kinetic effect comes from the circles crossed by segments of straight lines, where these do not have the same position, ending up vertically or horizontally sectioned. The resulting semicircles prompt rightward and downward movement. There is no room for consensus or even rest for the eye.

Colour and light reinforce this commotion sparked by geometric elements.

Loló Soldevilla liked classical music. According to DiazCasas, she played the piano and violin. The artist liked to see music through colour, not least because of her studies of Wassily Kandinsky’s theoretical postulates.

In the work Homenaje al 26 de Julio, the striking repetition of the point in small circles along the sheet of paper – marked by the division into semicircles – recalls the “sound points”[8] referred to by Kandinsky in his work Point and Line to Plane, 1926. Kandinsky demonstrated this by translating and isolating an excerpt from Beethoven’s symphony into graphic points[9].

This syncopated, repetitive and rhythmic behaviour of the elements used by the artist covers works that do not intend to be representative of movement; but which, on the other hand, demand the participation of the spectator. The elements are static. The impression of movement is optically completed by the observer.

The exhibition Loló Soldevilla, Parisian Collages from 1953 to 1970 is at Rui Freire – Fine Art gallery until January 27.







[1] Reichardt, J (1994)”Concepts of Modern Art, From Fauvism to Postmodernism”. World of Art. Thames and Hudson.

[2] Ibidem

[3] According to Rafael DiazCasas, from the exhibition catalogue “Loló Soldevilla – Parisian Collages from 1953 to 1970”, pages 8 and 9.

[4] Responsible for the texts of the exhibition catalogue, at Rui Freire Gallery

[5] Ibidem, page 5

[6] Ibidem

[7] Ibidem, page 6

[8] Kandinsky, W (2006) “Wassily Kandinsky – Ponto, Linha, Plano”. Edições 70. Page 49

[9] Ibidem, pág. 7

Carla Carbone was born in Lisbon, 1971. She studied Drawing in and Design of Equipment at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon. Completed his Masters in Visual Arts Teaching. She writes about Design since 1999, first in the newspaper O Independente, then in editions like Anuário de Design, arq.a magazine, DIF, Parq. She also participates in editions such as FRAME, Diário Digital, Wrongwrong, and in the collection of Portuguese designers, edited by the newspaper Público. She collaborated with illustrations for Fanzine Flanzine and Gerador magazine. (photo: Eurico Lino Vale)

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