Hosfelt Gallery presents a selection of Liliana Porter’s seminal conceptual works from the 1960s and early 1970s that radically re-defined the meaning and purpose of printmaking by putting technique at the service of ideas, laying the foundation for Porter’s vast and widely acclaimed oeuvre in the decades to follow.
Born in Buenos Aires in 1941, Liliana Porter studied art in Mexico and Argentina before moving to New York in 1964. There, at age 22, she co-founded the famed New York Graphic Workshop with Luis Camnitzer and José Guillermo Castillo after an acquaintance offered her access to the printing press in his Greenwich Village apartment.
Deeply engaged in her own printmaking practice while absorbing the exciting gestations of Minimalism, Pop, and Conceptual Art that permeated New York in the mid ‘60s, Porter began to realize that revolutions in art had always occurred through painting and sculpture, not printmaking. The reason, she concluded, was the extreme complexity of the traditional printmaking process, which tended to produce merely excellent technicians rather than innovative artists.
Her realization of “the trap of technique” prompted a drastic shift, simultaneously formal and conceptual, that would define Porter’s work from this point onward. She turned her focus to images devoid of charged meanings, which initially meant trivial objects such as a nail, a hook, or thread. She began situating these mundane items in an empty, decontextualized space, and combining them with representations of those objects. The negation of context and temporality, and the conflation of real versus representation, opened up a vast realm in which meaning could be defined in entirely new ways. This groundbreaking conceptual approach to printmaking became the genesis of philosophical explorations into notions of time and the substance of reality—themes that would continue to occupy her throughout her career.
Liliana Porter has shown extensively internationally, including most recently solo museum exhibitions at the Frist Art Museum, Nashville; Zacheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw; El Museo del Barrio, New York; Pérez Art Museum, Miami; Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay; MALBA, Buenos Aires; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Museo Rayo, Roldanillo, Colombia; Centro Cultura de España, Santiago, Chile; and Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, as well as a two-person exhibition with Marcel Broodthaers at The New Museum, New York. Her work is in numerous public and private collections in Latin America, Europe and the United States, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Museo de Arte Moderno, Buenos Aires; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Smithsonian Museum of American Art; Daros-Latinoamerica Collection, Zurich; and Tate Modern, London.