ARTURO HERRERA:
CONSTRUCTED COLLAGE

Arturo Herrera: Constructed Collage installation view. Photo by Ansen Seale.

Arturo Herrera, Las Bodas, 2019, silkscreen collage, 15.5 x 22 in. each, gift of the artist, Linda Pace Foundation Collection, Ruby City, San Antonio, Texas. © Arturo Herrera

Arturo Herrera: Constructed Collage installation view. Photo by Ansen Seale.

Arturo Herrera, Bang, 2015 (Impression number: 1/15, front view), hand lithography on BFK Rives 250g, on canvas and on linen; collage mounted on museum board; water transfer printing and enamel paint on aluminum; Hand applied lithography ink and acrylic paint, 19 X 12 X 13 in. (incl. pedestal and plexiglass case) Edition 1/15, printed by: Ulrich Kühle and Sarah Dudley with Gabrielle Paré and Annelies Kamen, gift of the artist, Linda Pace Foundation Collection, Ruby City, San Antonio, Texas. © Arturo Herrera

Arturo Herrera: Constructed Collage installation view. Photo by Ansen Seale.

Ruby City will present an exhibition devoted to the colorful, abstract works of Berlin-based artist Arturo Herrera beginning March 3, 2022. Arturo Herrera: Constructed Collage will feature more than 20 artworks from Ruby City’s permanent collection, including several recent acquisitions on view for the first time. Celebrating Herrera’s expansive practice, the show will feature works ranging in date from 1998 to 2019, including collage, a cut felt wall-hanging, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and an offsite wall painting. The exhibition, curated by Elyse Gonzales, director of Ruby City, is the first to examine the enduring importance of collage through the artist’s ongoing use and expansive conception of the medium. Constructed Collage demonstrates how this art form continues to shape all facets of the artist’s practice.

Herrera became well known in the 1990s for his abstract collages that featured intricately cut forms taken from popular culture source material with portions of recognizable elements that only hinted at potential meanings. Over the years, he has continually mined this art form, viewing collage as the quintessential expression of, as he states, “our fragmented world which we make sense of by associative thinking.” As a result, all his work is deeply informed by collage, using it as a means of expression and guide. When making any of his works, no matter the medium, Herrera relies on a unique visual language rooted in the methodology of collage—cutting, fragmenting, layering.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, and now based in Berlin, the internationally exhibited artist is familiar to San Antonio residents through the large site-specific painting Adam (2013), which is seen in the heart of downtown San Antonio adjacent to San Fernando Cathedral.

Several works in the exhibition represent the artist’s dedicated investigation of printmaking. With its incorporation of potentially multiple plates and ability to offer innovative transfer techniques, printmaking easily lends itself to combining and layering source materials into a completed whole.  Herrera’s suite of prints Dance, 2014, reflects this. “Through the photographic process, I am able to ‘collage’ lines, marks and shapes onto the image of dancers unifying them into something seamless,” said Herrera. Dance is also the subject of Las Bodas, 2019, a suite of eight silkscreen print collages donated by the artist in December. Inspired by Igor Stravinsky’s 1917 ballet Les Noces (The Wedding), Herrera used paper from the ballet’s score and a photograph of an outdoor rehearsal, contrasting with his own colorful drawings printed on collaged sheets.

Herrera even considers the placement of his sculptures and large-scale wall paintings, either in a gallery or the public realm, as collaged elements, capable of activating space in myriad ways and suggesting a multitude of meanings by their placement. In All Day, 2000, a small cloud-like form that sits high on the wall might immediately conjure a horizon or skyline, while the diminutive Untitled (BLUE), 1998, draws one’s eyes down and may instead signal the outline of grass or plant forms.

Also on view in the exhibition will be Bang, 2015, which explores the intersection of sculpture and printmaking. Bang is one of 14 works recently gifted to Ruby City by the artist. These donations, along with work previously collected by founder Linda Pace and the Linda Pace Foundation, give Herrera one of the most significant presences in the collection, reflecting the longstanding friendship the artist had with Pace, who continued to follow Herrera’s career after his ArtPace residency in 2000.

Arturo Herrera: Constructed Collage will be on view through Winter 2023 at Studio, inside Chris Park (111 Camp Street) on Ruby City’s campus. The outdoor painting Adam (2013) is located at the corner of Commerce and Main Streets in San Antonio. Also currently on view are Waking Dream (through July 24, 2022), featuring works by Marina Abramovic, Glenn Ligon, Maya Lin, Christian Marclay, Do Ho Suh, Diana Thater, and others; and Isaac Julien’s Western Union: Small Boats (through April 24, 2022).

About the Artist

Arturo Herrera was born in 1959, Caracas, Venezuela, and he currently lives in Berlin. His work has been exhibited internationally with selected solo exhibitions including: Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2021); Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York (2020); HOP, Kunst-station im Hauptbahnhof, Wolfsburg, Germany (2018); Bloomberg European Headquarters, London (2017); Tate Modern, London (2016); The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Saratoga Springs, New York; (2015); Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, England (2007); Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles (2001); and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2001).

Herrera’s work can be found in the collections of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Kupferstichkabinett; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and Dallas Art Museum.