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The article by Álvaro Barrios “La geometría como proceso en Sara Modiano” was published on May 10, 1979 in the Barranquilla newspaper El Heraldo, on the occasion of the solo exhibition of works by the Colombian artist Sara Modiano at the Galería Lincoln at the Centro Colombo-Americano in the Caribbean city of Barranquilla. The article begins with a brief account of the emergence of abstract art in Colombia in the 1950s, and explains the quest to reestablish order and an intuitive simplification of Pre-Columbian cultures. Barrios discusses the geometric abstract art of the Colombian artists Carlos Rojas, Ana Mercedes Hoyos, and Sara Modiano, who added process art to their abstract repertoire in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Keeping this in mind, Barrios describes Modiano’s work as conceptual, which far from being kinetic (or merely visual), seemed to be what he calls systems art—perhaps thinking of the ideas proposed by the CAyC group in Buenos Aires led by Jorge Glusberg—in which the viewer becomes actively involved in completing the concept underlying the objects.       


This article documents the Colombian art critics’ positive reaction to the geometric abstract art produced by Sara Modiano (b. 1951). It also discusses how her work echoed the process art (later referred to as Conceptual art) produced in Barranquilla during the 1970s by artists such as Antonio Caro (b. 1952) [see doc. no. 1130022]; Delfina Bernal (b. 1942) [doc. no. 1131111; and doc. no. 1131256]; and Álvaro Herazo (b. 1942) [doc. no. 1131063; doc. no. 1100220; and doc. no. 1100675], among others. Barrios highlights the formal quality of Modiano’s work while adding conceptual values, such as the inclusion of “the idea” that becomes apparent in the progressive arrangement of her ten sculptures, positioned to create a mathematical perception that alters the exhibition space.        


It is interesting to note how the author, Álvaro Barrios (b. 1945), acknowledges the sculptor Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar (1922–2004), who burst onto the scene in the 1950s with works based on logic and rationality, an approach that was particularly unusual in Colombia where people had grown accustomed to sentimentality and romanticism in the visual arts. Barrios mentions the introduction of abstract art in Colombia through the works of Frank Stella (b. 1936), describing abstraction as though it was a revival of Pre-Columbian styles of visual art. While not discounting the influence of (North) American abstract art among Colombian artists, Barrios suggests readings of an alternative identity-based discourse, an approach that would only emerge as a recurring theme in later decades.    


For more information on the general public’s reaction to Modiano’s work, see [doc. no. 1133820].  


Álvaro Barrios, the Colombian artist, architect, and historian graduated from the Escuela de Bellas Artes in Barranquilla and from the Università degli Studi di Perugia (Italy). Among his various honors, he has received the gold medal at the Ninth Tokyo Biennial (1974); the Grand Prize at the I Trienal Latinoamericana de Grabado (1979), and the Luis Caballero Prize (1998) at the Galería Santa Fe in Bogotá. 


Sara Modiano (b. 1951) is a Colombian artist; she graduated from the Fine Arts Academy at the Universidad del Atlántico at Barranquilla. She won the first prize at the Bienal de Arte de Valparaíso (Chile, 1975). She also received a mention at the Salón Regional de Artistas Zona Norte in 1978. She currently (in 2010) lives and works in Miami, in the United States.

Carlos Eduardo Monroy Guerrero
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Courtesy of El Heraldo, Barranquilla, Colombia