Jorge Eielson

(1924 Lima, Peru – 2006 Milano, Italy)

Jorge Eielson was born in Lima (Peru) in 1924. The artist left Peru with a scholarship in literature and he frequented some of the main personalities of contemporary art: from the nouveaux realistes to Fontana, Burri, Dorazio, Hains, Rotella, Capogrossi, Beuys, Buren, Noland, Venet, Scarpitta and Serra. Eielson always moved in the painting area but he also loved sculpture and action. His modus operandi is conceptual but the representation appeared strongly linked to the nature of body:  his purpose is mental and spiritual but to express his philosophy he used an expressive form full of pure energy.
He explored the past American roots using the matter in the abstract series named “Paesaggi infiniti della costa del Perù”: here we could see a new discover of the man and the human figure that appeared in the series with the cloths: gloves, dresses, blue-jeans and so on. They have been assembled, burnt and at the end they became knots. This is a typical interior research as a private necessity.
His first knot “Quipus” appeared in 1963 and it ideally linked the culture of the pre-columbian peolples to Eielson’s story that developed perfectly with the avant-garde of the post-war period. We could find a similarity in the Eielson’s knots with Fontana’s cuts: they  seem two different visions: one positive and one negative of a unique act that exists in the  infinity space of Yves Klein.
A quipus is an Andean counting or mnemonic device in which knotted strings record and carry data. Jorge Eielson’s series of Quipus paintings bring this ancient tradition firmly into the contemporary world. At a first glance this work appears to be an abstract composition reflecting the international taste for the clean surfaces and simple pattern of 1960s Minimalism. Eielson’s attempt to connect his deep interest in pre-Columbian art and ancient Andean cultures to his contemporary art practice has its roots in Joaquín Torres-García’s philosophy of Universal Constructivism.
The cloth on the canvas creates a plastic tension that is a perfect cultural summary of all the work of this artist. Quipus is a nucleus full of semantic and personal meanings.
Eielson is the only artist that is able to elaborate a unique poetic visions with multiple elaborations using different linguistic codes.
He could be defined as a citizen of the world and his research was global. He had only one native land that is the Art. He saw his knots as something symbolic that represent solidarity and peace in this harried planet.