Lynda Benglis Exhibition

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Banca March presents for the first time in Spain these monumental fountains by the american artist Lynda Benglis.

Lynda Benglis. Fuentes. Garden. Banca March

“If you think of each of my works as a body, that body is always in motion." - Lynda Benglis.

Lynda Benglis (b.1941, Lake Charles, Louisiana) is one of today's most influential artists. Her work can be understood as a constant attempt to capture movement and to convert the flow of water -the embodiment of life- into material form.

Her fountains are her most monumental works. Fascinated by water, she explores the tension between liquid and solid states, and plays, thanks to this constant flow, with the idea of the classical fountain as if it were a contemporary monument to nature.

Banca March presents for the first time in Europe four of these monumental fountains in the artist's first exhibition in Spain. The values embodied by these fountains are in perfect harmony with the bank's commitment to sustainability and care for the environment.

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Courtesy of the artist, Banca March, Xavier Hufkens Gallery and Pace Gallery.
© Photo: Juan de Sande

Crescendo

Crescendo (1983-84/2014-15) has its origins in The Wave of the World, Lynda Benglis' first fountain, made in 1984. It was her first work in bronze and was presented for the first time at the International Exposition in Louisiana (New Orleans) in the same year. It was thought to be lost for years until it turned up in an old wastewater treatment plant in the city of Kenner, just over twenty kilometres from where it was originally installed. It was restored by the artist herself, who modified it to create the fountain we know today.

Benglis refers to this layered creation as: "crustaceans, similar to a shellfish or snail on top of an object, which they make their home". Crescendo is the greatest example of Benglis' famous frozen gesture: capturing an ephemeral, liquid moment into something solid and durable.

Courtesy of the artist, Banca March, Xavier Hufkens Gallery and Pace Gallery.
© Photo: Juan de Sande

Pink Lady

Pink Lady (for Asha) (2013) is the only fountain in the exhibition made of polyurethane, with a striking fluorescent pink colour. Its rough surface is reminiscent of the piles of sand and mud expelled by crabs and crustaceans at the seashore. Benglis has spoken about this specifically: "The holes the crabs made were very important to me (...). Watching the flood waters, I saw how they extracted the mud and left large holes, sometimes thirty centimetres high, covered with bubbling mud. They had texture."

The sculpture is a tribute to Asha Sarabhai, sister-in-law of Lynda Benglis' late husband, Anand Sarabhai. Its bright pink colour is inspired by the colourful festival kites of Ahmedabad, her in-laws' city where she lived and worked. Throughout her career, Benglis has used bold, shiny materials, including gold and silver, as a counterpoint to the minimalist austerity with which she is often associated.

Courtesy of the artist, Banca March, Xavier Hufkens Gallery and Pace Gallery.
© Photo: Juan de Sande

Bounty, Amber Waves, Fruited Plane

The titles of these three identical sources that form part of a single work (Bounty, Amber Waves and Fruited Plane) refer to the patriotic idea of the natural abundance of states. The last two are taken from the lyrics of the anthem "America the Beautiful".

About this sculpture, Lynda Benglis has said: "Water is abundant and plentiful. I think of Bounty as a living and constant development or an explosion of frozen water inside the bronze, water that, although frozen, overflows."

Rising eight metres from the ground, these are Benglis' tallest works to date. Made by an accumulation of identical elements, resting precariously on top of each other and holding an empty plate directed towards the sky, these columns remind us of Brancusi's Colonne sans fin on the verge of losing its balance.

Courtesy of the artist, Banca March, Xavier Hufkens Gallery and Pace Gallery.
© Photo: Juan de Sande

Knight Mer

The smallest of the four fountains, Knight Mer, takes the form of a crustacean but is transformed into a bronze bulb that springs from the water.

Benglis has a special interest in mineral and organic life and its development over time, in the action of sedimentation and interaction between organisms of bulbous and textured forms. Testament to Benglis's sense of humour, the title of the work is a play on the words nightmare and knight, evoking a fantasy of a sea knight emerging from the water.

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Committed to culture

Banca March, in line with its commitment to culture, is bringing for the first time the work to Spain of the American artist Lynda Benglis, one of the most outstanding sculptors of the 20th and 21st centuries.

The garden of its Madrid headquarters will house four of her monumental fountains from March to June 2024.

This artistic proposal is a further example of Banca March's historic commitment to culture, art and sustainability. This exhibition enriches the cultural experience of visitors, and represents a dialogue between art and nature, reflecting the bank's interest in water as a source of wealth and a scarce and essential asset to be conserved.

José Luis Acea, CEO of Banca March, stresses the deep connection between Benglis' sculptures and the bank's philosophy. "This exhibition enriches the cultural experience of visitors, and demonstrates Banca March's commitment to a sustainable and responsible future. In this meeting between art and banking, a bridge is drawn between Banca March's tradition and its innovative vision of contributing to a better world for future generations".

Images by William Jess Laird at Laird and Good company.

Lynda Benglis

Lynda Benglis, born in Louisiana, moved to New York in 1964 and enrolled in the Brooklyn Museum Art School. She quickly became part of the dynamic art world of that time, meeting artists such as Donald Judd, Eva Hesse, Andy Warhol and Barnett Newman. She began to explore and use alternative materials to paint, such as latex, which she poured directly onto the ground to create revolutionary sculptures. These innovative forms immediately received critical acclaim, and Benglis, at just 28 years old, was featured in Life and New York Magazine.

At the same time, she began to work with pigmented polyurethane foam that she poured from a ladder onto chicken wire frames, vertically executing the volume of her sculptures. At the beginning of the 1970s, she created Sparkle Knots, made of wire mesh and plaster coated with metallic shine or spray-painted aluminium, copper or zinc. She also began to use video and photography to record performative actions.

In the 1980s, Benglis extended her innovative use of materials to the realm of nature, using water as another element in her sculptures. Her works convey the fluidity of form through the use of water as an artistic medium.

More recently, her work has developed in three directions: sculptures made of paper, ceramics and monumental bronze.

Between 1969 and 1995, Lynda Benglis held more than 75 solo exhibitions of her work both in the United States and abroad. Benglis' work is in the collections of numerous museums, including the Guggenheim, the Whitney Museum, MoMa, and Tate Modern.

Banca March, faithful to its commitment to sustainability, will offset 100% of the emissions connected to this exhibition.

If you have any questions, please contact us on 915 355 474 / 900 227 227 or by email to exposicion@bancamarch.es


In collaboration with  | Curated by Anne Pontégnie and VANDE | Acknowledgements: Xavier Hufkens Gallery and Pace Gallery

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