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Desire and Grace, from May 16 through July 13, 2002


Haim Chanin Fine Arts presents the first New York solo exhibition of the Afro–Cuban sculptor Agustin Cárdenas entitled Desire and Grace, on view May 16 through July 13, 2002. This exhibition of sculptures and drawings by Cárdenas, a key contributor to 20th Century Modern Art, includes works that span the length of his career.


Desire and Grace features twelve sculptures in a variety of media and twelve ink and watercolor drawings. Born in Cuba of African descent, Cárdenas moved to France in 1955, where he joined leagues with André Breton and the Surrealist movement. Rather than having these cultural and artistic influences directly translate into his work, Cárdenas used them to refine his formal exploration and expression. His continuous flux between these influences isolate his works while freeing him from the conventions of his contemporaries.


As is characteristic of Cárdenas’ art, the present sculptures are derived from organic forms and portray Cárdenas mesmerizing ability to capture the essence of human form. Early in his career, while at the San Alejandro Fine Arts Academy in Havana, Cárdenas created figurative work that emphasized femininity. After moving to France, he embarked on a more introspective journey: a period of frantic production that led to the establishment of his personal canon, born from the language of nature. These biomorphic shapes are an exquisite marriage of vital energy, intellectual search, and sensuality, exemplifying Cárdenas’ exceptional contribution to the language of modern sculpture.


His 60’s exploration of the utilization of local resources in his artwork makes Cárdenas a precursor in the fields of site-specific and environmental art. In such diverse locations as Austria, Israel, Japan, and Canada, he employed materials extracted from the native soil to create monumental sculptures that intimately related to their surroundings.


A full-color catalogue accompanies the exhibition with an essay by Jean Leymarie.



Haim Chanin Fine Arts All Rights Reserved (C) 2003