Convergences / Divergences

The Juan Carlos Maldonado Art Collection (JCMAC) initiates a new cycle in its exhibition program at its Miami Design District space with Convergences / Divergences, Primitive Sources Of The Modern, curated by Ariel Jimenez.

The Juan Carlos Maldonado Art Collection of modern and contemporary art acquired the most comprehensive to date set of indigenous Ye’Kwana pieces, collected through decades of arduous work and research by Venezuelan anthropologist Charles Brewer-Caras since the 1960’s. From the beginning, Juan Carlos Maldonado connected spontaneously with the geometry reflected in the Ye’Kwana pieces ensuing a series of conversations between the anthropologist-researcher and the collector of geometric art, leading the latter towards a transformative experience that would take him beyond his current self and engaging them both into a dialogue that still continues to date.

The acquisition-without being new-, generated a collision; the encounter between two universes of meaning, two symbolic, formal and technical repertoires that demand an approach, an attempt to understand what happens when this two worlds converge. How is the dialogue between this collection of “primitive” works and the manifestations of modern and contemporary art is established? Where do their differences reside and what do they reveal to us? Why, in short, should it be a problem that these works (strictly contemporary from the chronological point of view), coincide in the same collection?

It is to these and other questions that the exhibition proposed by the Juan Carlos Maldonado Art Collection intends to answer, not in a definitive way, of course, but as an attempt to share some concrete clues. The exhibition aims to explore some points of contact between the artistic production of the Ye’Kwana tribe that inhabits the Guyano-Amazon region, south of the Venezuelan territory and north of Brazil, and some of the iconic pieces of Western geometric abstraction in the collection.

Some of these points are detected through similar forms of functioning as symbolic devices between the Ye’Kwana objects and the works of some modern artists such as Joaqun Torres-Garca, Mathias Goeritz, Jesus Soto, and, to a lesser extent, Mira Schendel; or as in the works by Joseph Albers, Max Bill, Carmen Herrera, or Gonzalo Fonseca, where the indigenous and modern productions coincide in their language strategies, specifically in the clear economy of means that characterize them.

Whenever the artists consciously assumed a certain influence of the indigenous artistic traditions; either in the ranges they used, or in the collaborative actions excerpted in the creative processes, the fundamental questions of origin, influence or parallel asymptotic co-existence arise. This exhibit attempts to further the research on the parallels between modern art and the mythical symbolisms of ancient cultures, bringing to light a comprehensive group of objects of the amazon basin community of the Ye’Kwana tribe and some of the most iconic and representative pieces from the JCMAC.


Ariel Jimnez


ALBERS Josef, BILL Max, CHACON Sigfredo, CRUZ-DIEZ Carlos, FONSECA Gonzalo, GOERITZ Mathias, HERRERA Carmen, LEWITT Sol, MORELLET Francois, NOLAND Kenneth, SHENDEL Mira, SOTO Jesus Rafael,  TORRES-GARCIA Joaqun and the Ye’Kwana people.

Photo: Wandi Tonro mtai (La Espalda del Pjaro Dios) detail, 1961, Ye’Kwana people

Press Release