“My language is one of pure abstraction devoid of any allusion to an external reality.”
Dickinson New York is delighted to present a group of paintings and works on paper by Fanny Sanín (b. 1938, Bogotá, Colombia), considered one of the leading artists of the Abstract movement in the Americas. Fanny Sanín: Progression, 1966 to Now will feature six large format paintings together with a fascinating group of thirteen works on paper selected from almost six decades of experimentation. These works beautifully document the processes through which each composition is developed. The presentation will illustrate how the artist has drawn on influences from her native Colombia, time spent in Mexico and London, and her long residence in New York, as well as the painstaking process by which composition and palette are refined on paper, to evolve a rigorous but endlessly inventive
body of work.
Fanny Sanín’s first participation in a major public exhibition was at the Salón de Aristas colombianos in Bogotá in 1962. That year she moved with her husband, Mayer Sasson, to study at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, later transferring to Monterrey, Mexico, in 1963. There she grew close to artists of the Ruptura generation who had broken with the Muralist tradition and were exploring a lyrical abstraction in tune with gestural process evolving in Paris and New York. Two years spent in London in 1966-68 gave the artist firsthand experience of the European avant-garde. Most significantly Sanín saw the Paris iteration of the MoMA exhibition The Art of the Real, which introduced her to Hard-Edge, Minimalist and Color Field artists such as Kelly,Noland, Frankenthaler, Stella and Newman. Fanny Sanín settled permanently in New York in 1971. Since then she has tenaciously explored the possibilities presented by balancing color and form, achieving equilibrium within self-imposed restrictions of symmetry and palette. This has built a towering body of work that continues to evolve. She has painted no more than eight paintings a year and sometimes only one, preparing for each composition with a sequence of between four and eighteen works on paper in which forms seem to dance across the page until they coalesce into a final array.
“Drawings are the first and most important part of my creation … I use them to plan and reach the image that I
would finally love to paint on canvas.”
Highlights of the exhibition include:
Oil No. 8, 1966 (1966): one of the last works painted in Mexico before Sanín left for London. A tour de force of expressive Lyrical Abstraction, with a gorgeous play of textures and tones, the careful deployment of forms suggests a powerful sense of structure reminiscent of the style of Hans Hofmann. Following her experience in London this centripetal force snaps into the rigorous Geometric Abstraction that she explores to this day.
Acrylic No. 3, 1991 (1991): a tripartite composition that has the monumental feeling of a Pompeian wall painting. The three accompanying drawings show that the form was settled early but the colorways follow a more considered progression. Composition No. 1, 2016 (2016): a large format work in acrylic on paper. The beetling triangular forms mass and separate through five studies as the artist searches for poise and balance in form and color. The presentation closes with two studies in acrylic on paper from 2021 which prepare for a major work that Fanny Sanín will present at the Aichi Triennale in Japan in Summer 2022. These works show that entering her seventh decade of experimentation this quietly indefatigable master continues to refine her practice.
The Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá organized a retrospective of 25 years of Fanny Sanín’s career in 1987. In 2015-16 she was again the subject of a major retrospective, at the National Museum of Colombia, which holds a representative survey of her paintings and works on paper in its permanent collection. Her works are also found in major international collections including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX;
the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington DC; the Museo de Arte Moderno, Mexico City; the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas; the Bibliotèque Nationale, Paris; and in many distinguished university and private collections.
We are grateful to the Fanny Sanín and Mayer Sasson for allowing us to present these works and to the Fanny Sanín Legacy Project, Ana Sokoloff and Leon Tovar for their kind help and advice. Dickinson is excited to continue its relationship with the artist following the wonderful response to a group of her paintings presented at Frieze Masters in London in 2021 as part of Perspective of the Imagination: Women Artists of Latin America. That presentation built on our exhibition Carmen Herrera in Paris 1949 – 1953 at Dickinson New York in November 2020. Dickinson has long
promoted and exhibited Modern and Contemporary Latin American art in shows such as Playing with Form: Neoconcrete art from Brazil (2011) and Ivan Serpa: Pioneering Abstraction in Brazil (2012).