|Movement||Plastic Arts, Land art, Fourth dimension, Installation art, Environmental art|
In 1976, after a second solo exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum of Caracas, Milton Becerra made a series of interventions in the landscape.
Milton Becerra’s first works appeared during the 1970s within this context. These works are located in diverse suburban areas of Caracas –in the imprecise boundaries that separate the metropolis, the forest or the pastures high up, in the banks of streams or in the last streets and rows of houses of the city, at Colonia Tovar or at La Mariposa dam. Although it is strictly a matter of actions and interventions, these pieces end up being a series of photographs which, more than a document, constitute an initial artistic and poetic approximation to that vision of nature and the territory as sacred spaces, conducive to mystical experiences and intersected by a memory of cultures of peoples who have been silenced or have disappeared. This starting point will later characterize, very profoundly, the body of his work.
These first interventions act as experiments through which Milton Becerra attempts to establish a critical rereading of the ways in which the geometric and kinetic traditions, predominant in Venezuelan art during those years, manifest themselves. This occurs when the interventions incorporate gestures laden with subjectivity or with signs into nature that show an imperfect geometry that adapts to the forms of the stones or the terrain. Later on, the artist will adopt, in his interventions, the graphic style of the original native cultures, reintroducing or inventing forms, creating a sign alphabet that evokes a memory and a history from a geometric vision, where irregularity will turn into a form of expression that will allow new generations of forms to come into existence based on those already carried out.
In 1973, he executed numerous drawings and works on paper, in which woven lines create graphic screens of very precise geometric shapes, but where irregularities also produce movement and evolve towards other new structures. These pieces, combined together under the name Hexagonometrías, form a body of ideas that, although originating from the Venezuelan normative and geometric pictorial tradition, dissociate from it little by little, and in a certain sense, negate it in its principles to the extent in which order evolves into irregularity. It is possible to discern in these early works the spirit of some subsequent trends in his body of work, like nets and drawings made of vegetable fibers and cords, which are connected metaphorically to the handicrafts of native peoples from the Venezuelan provinces. These works take on certain spiritual and cosmogonic connotations that relate to the principles work in spite of the distance, as if the irregularities created a resistance to the normative tradition.
It must be pointed out that, for artists of Milton Becerra’s generation, the importance of the geometric and kinetic tradition in Venezuelan art holds the significance of being a starting point with which one may argue, but with which one shares a depiction of radicalism and modernity. Milton Becerra’s options with regards to materials, anthropology, and poetry do not renounce this geometric legacy, but rather reinterprets it based on a memory of the ancestral. In this artistic context, it is a decision that emphasizes the perspective of identity with the objective of carrying out a contextual inclusion. The conceptual proposal Milton Becerra moving towards experimenting with new languages and was hailed during his participation at the XIth International Biennale of young artists at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in 1980.
In 1992, Milton Becerra showed a new dichotomy between life and death when he participates in the Arte Amazonas project organized by the Goethe Institute of Brazil on the occasion of the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development, ECO92. His work focused on the Upper Orinoco’s Federal Reserve in the Amazon, inside Yanomami territory, and was presented as a field experience where the artist immerses himself in a type of real and living workshop, anthropologic and complete. work «Xawara Yanomami Siglo XXI » exhibitions : of Art Modern Museum, Río de Janeiro ; of Art Museum, Brasilia ; Sao Paulo Biennial, Ibirapuera Park, Brazil ; Lu¬dwig Forum Art International Museum, Aachen, Germany ; Statliche Kunsthalle, Berlin, Germany In 1997, his research, are returning to the Orinoco River in the Yanomami territory in the Amazon. The same year, the exhibition "Identidad" (identity), at the Museum of Fine Arts of Caracas, brought material values and their cult objects face to face, based on two concepts: the Siete cetros de poder (Seven scepters of power) and [money].
A country’s identity is based on its economy, Milton Becerra explained as he talked about this exhibition. «A society’s four structural powers are therein contained, powers that restrain the maximum power. The (Scepter) represents military power and is one of the exhibition’s major symbols». Money, as the supreme symbol of power in Western societies, helped Becerra to situate and enrich his proposition on aesthetic connotations. The dollar — or the bolivar — seen as money in the form of coins or paper money, served as a symbol of the loss of identity suffered by Venezuelans, allowing the artist to reach the transcendence of a work of art -i.e. in relation to life and the problems of the environment. Becerra’s works using money as a focal theme started in the 70s.
His work is included in various international private collections
Permanent monumental works
- Tepú-mereme, Pontevedra Museum, Galicia Spain (1996);
- Esfera pre-colombina, Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, San José, Costa Rica (1995);
- Nointel Lotus, Château Nointel, France (1994);
- Oro Doble Spiral, Kistermann family, Aachen, Germany (1994);
- Dorado constellation, Rohrbach Zement Museum, Dotterhausen, Germany (1991);
- O, Noa-Noa Foundation, Caracas, Venezuela (1990);
- O, Die Stimme in der Kunst Klinikverwartung, Bad-Rappenau, Germany (1989);
- Meteorite, Ibirapuera Park, XVIII Biennial of Sao Paulo, Brazil (1985);
- Homenaje a la constelación del águila y las cinco águilas blancas, Mariano Picon Salas Museum, Albarregas Park, Mérida, Venezuela (1985).
- Susana Benko, Artistic Education, Edition Larense, Venezuela (2009)
- “Analysis of a process in time”, Foundation Cultural Chacao, Caracas, Venezuela (2007)
- Christine Frérot “Contemporary art from Latin America1990-2005” Edition L’Harmattan, (2005)
- Juan Carlos Palenzuela “Sculpture in Venezuela 1960 – 2002” Citibank, Caracas, Venezuela (2002)
- Paco Barragan “The art that comes” Editions group auctions XXI, Madrid, Spain (2002)
- Yvonne Pini “Fragments of memory Latin American artists think past” Edition Uniandes, Bogotá (2001)
- René Derouin “By a culture of territory” Editions l’Hexagone, Québec, Canada (2001)
- Juan Carlos Palenzuela “Ideas about the Visible” Edition in the care of the author, Caracas, Venezuela (2000)
- Enrique Viloria Vera “Milton Becerra- origins” Editions Pavilo, Caracas, Venezuela (1999)
- Vision of Latin American art in the Decade of 1980, UNESCO, Lima, Peru (1994)
- Alfredo Boulton “History of the painting in Venezuela” Edition Armitano, Caracas, Venezuela (1979)
- Roberto Guevara “Art for a new scale” Edition Lagoven, Caracas, Venezuela (1979
- Jorge Gluber Young Generation” Argentina (1976).
Publications reviews (selections)
- Christian Chambert, Konstuetenskaplis pag 38/39 Bulletin, Switzerland (1984)
- François Julien “Artmania” L’Officiel hommes Paris, France (1990)
- Berta Sichel “The New Past” Atlántica, Nº 6 Las Palmas, Grand Canarias (1994)
- Reynaldo Roels jr “Arte Amazonas” Humboldt Nº 112 Bonn, Germany (1994)
- Susana Benko “Milton Becerra – Identidad” Art Nexus Nº 27 Bogota, Colombia (1998)
- BIT - OIT International Labour Office sectorielles 1 edition Geneva, Switzerland (1999)
- Juan Carlos Palenzuela “Milton Becerra Galería IUFM Confluences” Art Nexus Nº 37 Bogota (2000)
- Carlos Acero Ruiz “El Mundo Mágico de Milton Becerra” ARTes Nº 3 St. Domingo, R.Dominican (2002)
- Antonio Zaya, Portafolio “Ximetriamazonica” Atlántica – Las Palmas, Grand Canarias (2003)
- «Homenaje à Pierre Restany » exposición Milton Becerra- Update nº 4 – París, Francia (2003)
- Amalia Capoto “Milton Becerra-Lost Paradise” Arte al día Nº 102 – Miami, EE.UU (2004)
- Marina D. Whitman “Milton Becerra” Surface Design volumen 29 Nº1 pag / 50-51– Miami. (2004)
- Lorenzo Dávalos “Silente perplejidad” revista GP N°8, pag /arte-Caracas, Venezuela (2007)
- Patricia Avena Navarro “Arqueología de lo visible e invisible” Arte al día N°138 –Miami, EE.UU (2012).