Carlos ROJAS


«20 Años despues»


May 20 – June 30, 2017

Carlos Rojas (Facatativá 1933 – Bogotá 1997) was one of the central figures of abstract art in Colombia and one of the artists who defined the course of abstraction in Latin America. Between 1953 and 1954 he studied architecture at Universidad Javeriana of Bogotá and Fine Arts at Universidad Nacional and later at the School of Fine Arts in Rome, after winning a scholarship in 1958.

Once his scholarship ended, Rojas decided to return to Colombia along the Greenland route. He visited Alaska, the United States and Mexico and he came back marked by the experience of his travels in Europe and North America, the birthplace of the then contemporary art movements, and he began to teach his new vision resulting from his life experiences and the establishment of his artistic theory.

In order to understand the work of Carlos Rojas we need to get to know language that he built and shaped in the different series he produced. For the artist, nature is the essential foundation of all things and therefore what marked the beginning of his artistic career. Drawings of animals, faces, leaves, flowers and fragments of the body became the principle of the exploration of shapes, their internal structures, the relationships between their parts and their geometrical proportions. His first approach to «formal art» was at the end of the fifties with the series Papeles Pegados, in which he developed ideas inherited from Cubism with the purpose of investigating the fragmentation of objects and the overlapping of materials and colors. It was during this period that the artist began to use nonconventional materials such as rubber and plastic.

His life in Europe between 1958 and 1959 allowed him to approach the ideas of the Bauhaus school. It was at that moment that the geometry and its lines became the pillar of his work as seen in the series Ingeniería de la Visión, Signos y Señales and Pueblos. This was undoubtedly the most rational stage of his work, dominated by the square format, black and white and architectural references.

In the seventies, the artist began to question his vision of the environment, of the country and the American land, leading to the beginning the América period and the series Horizontes y Cruzados. Horizontes represents an exploration of elements that make up the landscape, where color is studied according to the horizontal nature of the gaze and the tones of the fabrics and textiles of the Andean peoples. Cruzados on the other hand alludes to the figure of the cross, a sign that appears in his first abstract works as a way of dealing with life in the vertical and horizontal dimension.

At the beginning of the eighties the artist began working on the Dorado series, which starting point was the conceptual structure of pre-Columbian shapes. History is revisited in Dorado by exploring what the conquest represented and what America meant for the Spaniards. Here religion remains a crucial element because the concept of the sacred is explored through the use of color. It is precisely the materiality that takes place in Dorado which gives rise to the Mater Materia series, where reference is made to destruction while the work is exalted and cleansed: his interest in formal perfection disappears.
In Por Pintar, the last series in which he worked until his death in 1997, the artist set out to revise the concept of painting and summed up all the creative moments of his artistic career. This set of works speaks of pain and tragedy, and also points out at what it is to be done, as if it were a reference to the future.

The vast and always renewed production of Carlos Rojas demonstrates the importance of his work within the development of Colombian art. His artistic career accounts for his insatiable curiosity for an array of disciplines such as social sciences and exact sciences. Within his plastic proposal he showed a particular interest in matter, reflected by the use of novel materials evidencing the influence of great artists whom he reinterpreted and appropriated.

Throughout his life, the artist was chosen to represent Colombia in many international art biennials, including the Venice Biennale in 1957, 1958, 1982 and 1990; the International Mexico Biennale in 1958; the First Quito Biennale in 1968, and the XIII International Sao Paulo Biennale in 1975, where he won one of the ten international mentions. His work was part of the National Salons of Artists of 1962, 1963, 1965, 1969, 1970, 1973 and 1992. In 1965 he won the special prize, in 1969 the first prize awarded by the jury and in 1973 he won the first prize for a second time. He also participated in several international exhibitions, including his participation in the I Salon of April in Rio de Janeiro in 1965 and in the Rodin Salon in Paris in 1967.

In 1974 the Museum of Modern Art of Bogotá held the first retrospective of his work and in 1978 he appeared as part of the exhibition «Latin America Geometría Sensible» in the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. In 1979 he was part of the exhibition «Contemporary Sculpture» of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Later, in 1992 he was invited to participate in the exhibitions «Contemporary Colombian Art» in Seville, Spain; «Latin American Artists of the 20th Century» at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne, Germany. In 1995, he exhibited as a guest at the Biarritz Festival in France and was given his second retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in Bogotá.

Currently Carlos Rojas‘ work can be found various collections of museums in Colombia and abroad, such as the Museums of Modern Art in Bogotá, New York, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Texas, as well as in the Sofía Imber Museum in Caracas, the Luis Ángel Arango Library in Bogota, among many others.


«Papeles Pegados Serie»

«Ingenieria de la visión Serie»

«Cruzados Serie»

«America Horizontes Serie»

«Dorado Serie»

«Mater Materia Serie»

«Mutantes Serie»

«Por Pintar Serie»

Works on paper

We cannot display this gallery


We cannot display this gallery

Graphic work

We cannot display this gallery