Gerardo Chavez (Peru)
"Los De Afuera" (The Outsiders)
April 3 - April 26, 2010
Gerardo was born in Trujillo, Peru, on November 16, 1937. He studied in the Escuela Nacional Superior de Bellas Artes in Lima. He began his professional work with his brother and painter Angel Chávez. He traveled to Europe in 1960 and remained in Italy for two years. There he met Roberto Matta who invited him to travel to Paris where Chávez would have a better opportunity to show his art in a more international atmosphere. In Paris he struck up a friendship with Wilfredo Lam.
When Chávez graduated from the Fine Arts school in Lima, his paintings were abstract and sometimes cubist, the artistic expressions of the times. In Italy he modified his painting style along the lines of European art and developed more dreamlike paintings, thanks to old roman walls that provided him with phantasmal images that facilitated his transition to surrealism. In 1973 he created a series of works called “Metamorfosis del Agua” (“Medusa”, “Zeus”, etc.). In that same decade Chávez painted with thick pastels on canvas that was the particular characteristic of his work called “La Montana de los Agitados.” After various individual and collective exhibits in Paris, he was invited to present his paintings in various European countries.
At age 39 in one of his individual exhibits in Brussels, the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Belgium purchased one of Chávez’ most important paintings in large format called “El Transparente Habitado” which is still exhibited in the Museum. In that same year of 1976 his name was included in the Larousse encyclopedia and dictionary, while French television dedicated a presentation on him in the program “Painters of Our Time.”
During the 1980s he abandoned thick pastels to work on a series called “Mitología del Futuro,” consisting of works in black that facilitated his representing his country in the 19th Biennial of Sao Paulo in Brazil. During the 1990s when back in Peru, Chávez created a medium of burlap and clay called “El Otro Ekeko,” a series of drawings on cardboard called “Fabulación” and the “Procesión de la Papa.” Simultaneously, he developed a theme based on the carousel called “Cabellito del Alma” and “Autómatas del Carrusel.”
Attracted by primitive art, in the early 1970s Chávez visited the Spanish caves of Altamira and in 1973 traveled to Tassilli in Algeria and to the Easter Islands in Chile. He developed a great interest in ancient civilizations in his own country Peru. In 1983 he created in his home state of Trujillo the First Biennial of Contemporary Art. In 1988 the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLA) in Long Beach, California, organized an important retrospective of his creations called “Rhythms of the Fantastic.” In the year 2000 he created the Espacio Cultural Angelmira, the Museo del Juguete Antiguo and the Museo de Arte Moderno, all in Trujillo.
In 2003 he participated in a large exhibit paying homage to the Chilean painter Roberto Matta in the Museo de Artes Visuales in Santiago, Chile. His work “Autoretrato” was incorporated into the art gallery of self-portraits of 20th Century artists in the Colección del Museo UFFICI in Florence, Italy.
Chávez’ most recent exhibits have been in the Chapelle des Ursulines Quimperle in Paris, France (“La Reconquete”) in June-September 2008, in the Museo Pedro de Osma in Lima, Peru (“La Justicia en su Laberinto”) in September 2009, and in the GGallery and Redbud Gallery in Houston, Texas, in April 2010.
In his lengthy artistic trajectory, Chávez has provided us with more than 70 individual exhibits and has participated in numerous collective exhibits. His works are important parts of numerous private collections and museums.