Exhibited at ArtBo 2014, Bogotá
(with Alejandra von Hartz Gallery, Miami)
Projects: Objects of Aesthetic Usage
Curated by José Roca

In making his work, Jaime Gili likes to imagine different narratives that may have changed the shape of 20th century modernism, like a kind of painted fictionalisation of events. He has done so in recent shows, for example in a 2013 exhibition in London in which he completed the 1950s meeting that almost occurred between Gió Ponti and Armando Reverón. In 2009, he imagined Max Bill’s improbable trip to the Henri Pittier National Park on the Venezuelan coast. For this project at ArtBo, curated by José Roca, Gili once again uses the work of Max Bill as a trigger for ideas.

Bill is an interesting character for Gili due to the contradictions present in the apparent self-control of the Swiss artist. During lectures he gave on his trip to Brazil in 1953, for instance, Bill famously criticised the unjustified decorative forms in the local modern architecture, using a tone that would have made proud the Alfred Loos of Ornament and Crime. Bill’s own late architecture, however, shows an often dismaying neutrality, ruled by an unimaginative economy of form. Deep down, and here is where fiction applies, perhaps Bill was fighting against himself, desperate to be freed from his own rules.

To justify his interest in making art without jeopardising his moral need to make useful things, Bill wrote that he was not making art but “objects of intellectual usage”. At ArtBo, in a pictorial dialogue accessible from different levels, Gili presents several “objects of intellectual usage”: a series of works that started from Bill’s omnipresent grid, and which end up discovering a contemporary path for late modernism, a path that is perhaps destined to cross the ornamental Venezuelan jungle.