Raquel Forner ( Argentinian, 1902 - 1988 )
Apocalypsis marks a transition between Raquel Forner’s artistic exploration of human suffering and her optimistic and influential Space Series, begun in 1957_._ Here she shows disparate groups of people separated by rigid, abstract landforms. Their movement obstructed, many figures appear gripped by death. Two moons adorn the canvas’s upper corners. Their alternate lunar phases suggest a cycle of human conflict. The tortoise in the lower right-hand corner signals the passage of time, slowly inching toward the full moon.
This work shares compositional and stylistic features with Pablo Picasso’s Guernica (1937). Both responded to recent military and civilian clashes—he to the bombing of a small Basque village during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and she to the 1955 Argentine uprising to end Juan Perón’s second presidential term. Forner spent much of her youth in Spain and spoke candidly about the inspiration she drew from the Spanish Civil War, but she never addressed the similarities between her work and that of Picasso.
Erin Piñon, Tower Gallery: Latin American Art, Label text, 2017.