Miami Biennale
Gonzalo Fonseca

Art Works
Gonzalo Fonseca T, 1979-80 Sandstone; 13 x 11 7/8 x 11 inches
From Beyond the Erotic: Flows

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Gonzalo Fonseca (1922-1997) Montevideo, Uruguay. Lived in Seravezza, Italy. Known for his stone sculpting, he originally studied to be an architect, but discovered modern art in 1942 after working in the Taller Torres-Garcia workshop. He studied painting in the workshop until 1949, and became interested in pre-Columbian art during that time.

In 1950 he moved to Paris, and traveled through several countries in Europe. Fonseca worked in excavations run by Flinders Petrie in Egypt, Sudan, Syria, and traveled through Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Greece.

He married Elizabeth Kaplan, from New York City, in the mid-1950’s (and divorced two decades later) and moved to Manhattan in 1958 after being awarded a Simon Guggenheim Fellowship.

He began working in New York and in Italy, near Carrara. He started working on large scale pieces mostly of marble, and recycled limestone from New York’s demolished buildings. He had few solo shows throughout his career, but several group exhibitions in which he became known for his stone sculptures of modern influenced architectural forms. He died in Italy at the age of 74 in Seravezza, Italy, in his studio.

Fonseca's Sculptures
Fonseca's influence on his art derived from a fascination with history and cultures, and his early training as an architect helped him realize and formulate his sculptures. His pieces offer a sense of mystery, and yet a deeper meaning. His piece titled Graneros III (Granaries III), 1971-1975 was carved of red travertine marble. It mimics the form of an actual grain store, but also refers to a store of knowledge, with the grain representing the knowledge.

Fonseca's sculptures take architectural reference as well as that of ancient ruins and what he studied while taking part in excavations. This causes the viewer to recognize and identify parts of the sculpture, perhaps relating them to the characteristics of a building or home. But the way in which he manifests these pieces still leaves something to be defined by the viewer in relation to time and space. His works do not automatically construct a definite time period in the viewer's mind, leaving it to the imagination as to what it may or may not represent in time and space.

La Torre de los Vientos
He designed and created a 40-foot concrete tower as his contribution to the "Route of Friendship" (Spanish: La Ruta de la Amistad) of the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. It was titled La Torre de los Vientos after the classical Tower of the Winds. This structure recalls the shape of the Malwiya, the spiral minaret of the Great Mosque of Samarra. It is hollow, and was later converted into a studio, then used as an artists' exhibition space from 1997 to 2004.