Americas Society announce Xul Solar and Jorge Luis Borges: The Art of Friendship

Americas Society present Xul Solar and Jorge Luis Borges: The Art of Friendship an exhibition on view April 18–July 20, 2013.

Xul SolarXul Solar, Pan ajedrez, ca. 1945. Image courtesy of Museo Xul Solar.

The exhibition explores the intellectual exchange between the mystic artist Xul Solar (1887–1963) and the writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1985) as a cosmopolitan agency that informed Argentine art and culture.The Art of Friendship focuses on the fraternal dialogue and collaboration between Solar and Borges, perhaps the most singular cultural figures in Buenos Aires during the twentieth century. Both contributed to the philosophical and aesthetic renewal in Argentina in the 1920s by cultivating a form of “fluid nationalism.” The exhibition, curated by Gabriela Rangel, Director of Visual Arts and Chief Curator at Americas Society, in collaboration with the poet Lila Zemborain, will be on view from April 18 to July 20, traveling in the fall to the Phoenix Art Museum.

The Art of Friendship covers forty years of friendship between Solar and Borges, who met after their return from Europe in 1924 in the literary and artistic circles of the journal-magazine Martin Fierro and collaborated on different projects until Solar’s death. In search of a new Argentine avant-garde identity, Borges and Solar, along with other martinfierristas, developed a Neo-Creole sensibility that fused the tactics of the European modernists with nationalist ideas and the gaucho vernacular culture. Nonetheless, each developed distinct voices within this group: Borges reinvented the slums and unpaved streets of Buenos Aires’ suburbs, while Solar created new languages, Neo-Creole and Pan-Language, as well as fantastic and occult references with Pan-American symbolism. It has been suggested that Borges and Solar sought difference rather than assimilation, acting as born-exiles in an environment of fervent avant-garde debates and nationalisms. Both constituted a visual metaphor, which built the core for this new conception of the local cosmopolitan self. Borges and Solar forged a lifetime friendship while discovering and contributing to the identity of Buenos Aires in the process of the invention of their own.

The exhibition also departs from a speculative lineage on friendship construed by such thinkers as Aristotle, Cicero, Michel de Montaigne, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Rorty, Hans-Georg Gadamer, and Jacques Derrida, who have examined fraternal exchange as a form of civic agency. Friendship is further considered here as a space of social and political interaction, which enables the tracing of genealogical maps that identify vast networks of solidarity and communities.

The Art of Friendship gathers an important number of paintings, first editions, and manuscripts—some of which have never left Argentina—in order to explore the intellectual nature of the relationship between Solar and Borges and the definition of friendship a private agency with public effects. Xul Solar and Jorge Luis Borges: The Art of Friendship is organized by Americas Society in collaboration of Museo Xul Solar in Buenos Aires. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with contributions by Patricia Artundo, Sergio Baur, Maria Kodama, Gabriela Rangel and Sylvia Molloy, in addition to a plaquette with original poems by Mónica de la Torre, Cecilia Vicuña, and Lila Zemborain inspired by Solar’s astral voyages, orSan Signos.
Americas Society
680 Park Avenue at 68 Street
New York, NY 10065
Hours: Wednesday–Saturday 12–6pm
Free admission