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20th Century by HKFA

Heather Karlie Vieira

I'm an antiques dealer for this generation and the next. Being part of the history of works of art as they pass through hands and through time is an honor.

Enrique Castro-Cid - Pioneer in Latin American Art

Published: August 17, 2011 16:42 Last Updated: February 21, 2014 15:32
Enrique Castro-Cid print
Enrique Castro-Cid print
  • Enrique Castro-Cid in his NYC loft

    Enrique Castro-Cid in his NYC loft in the 1970's

    image from artdock.net - The Art Dockuments

  • Enrique Castro-Cid work on paper

    Enrique Castro-Cid work on paper

Enrique Castro-Cid burst onto the art scene with ferver.  He had arrived in the United States to a hungry New York City waiting for the next big thing.  Awards, Guggenheim Fellowship Grants, exhibitions at galleries and museums followed briskly after his early 1960's arrival.  He immediately became a darling of the art world.  Dashing good looks and a Latin American style led him to marry first a Harper's Bazaar cover model, Sylvia, and then an art patron, Christophe de Menil.  Enrique Castro-Cid formed and broke relationships.  Forming and breaking are two sides of the same coin.  The human form is as it looks, until of course you change the perspective, the coordinates plotted onto a graph in space, change your way of seeing.  Welcome to a look inside the world of Enrique Castro-Cid.

He was born in Santiago, Chile in 1937.  Art studies at the Escuela de Bellas Artes at the Universidad de Chile would commence some 20 years later.  Shortly after his studies came to a close, he found his way to New York City.  His loft was something artists dreamt about, huge and full of potential.  That was Enrique Castro-Cid.  He was a larger than life figure whose ideas about art could not be confined to a mere three dimensions.  He wanted more.  Four, five, six.  Why did there have to be limits on the imagination?  

He pioneered the relationship of computers, geometry and art.  His vision was one of space-time.  His limitless imagination and command of the computer in the 1960's and 1970's allowed him to create art that would be conceivable in the computer, but difficult to represent - five dimensional space being one of those ideas.  He would come to be considered an avant-garde psychologist of perception.  He experimented with pictorial space and with geometric transformations.  He took his art and way of understanding to another level.  Or two...

Castro-Cid drew our attention to many questions.  How do we perceive a deformation?  How do we perceive a face?  Is a face a face whether it is smiling, frowning or impassive?  How do we know that expression, if we have never seen the face before?  His art explored these concepts.  He would draw the human nude form and the outline of that form would be plotted carefully on a graph.  As he changed the formula and the equations, the outline of the form would seem to distort.  The equations were then changed to such a degree that the form, once known to us, now seemed almost unrecognizable.  Or, were we looking at the process backwards?  Were we looking into other dimensions? 

But perhaps, he as an artist was only experimenting with these ideas and never meant to delve so deeply into such questions.  But that is the nature of art.  It beckons you close, then pulls you in.  You are asked to understand something that may never be understandable.

Castro-Cid's time in New York City had come to a close, he headed for warmer climes and arrived in Miami in the 1980's.  Of course, once again he was a celebrated figure on the art scene and was once again given many awards and exhibitions.  He lived a fast paced life in Miami, a roller coaster ride for all those who dared to climb on board.  He was a Latin American artist living the American dream.  Following his desires, his dreams and his own path into space.  He created art for a select few who cared enough to see his vision.

The technology of Computer Aided Design and such new programs as are used today, can see their ancestry in his art.  Certainly a branch of the family tree.  He was the root.  He helped to create a movement that exists to this day.  His work has long lived past him.  He died of a heart attack in 1992.  54 years.   A lifetime of ideas.  A vision that will last the test of space-time.



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