Accumulate, Classify, Preserve, Display - on view, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021 — Sunday, May 16, 2021 - features the innovative work of the late Venezuelan artist Roberto Obregón (1946–2003), a key figure in global conceptualism. This exhibition is curated by Jesús Fuenmayor, visiting curator and University Galleries program director at the University of Florida , and Kaira M. Cabañas, professor of art history at the School of Art and Art History.
For 30 years, Obregón produced more than a thousand works related to the rose, but he dismantled its kitsch aesthetic and introduced a pseudo-scientific approach to the flower. Inspired by time-lapse photography, Obregón began by carefully observing the rose samples he assembled, capturing a rose's decay across a sequence of images. He also preserved the roses, dissected each, glued the petals to paper, and organized them in meticulously numbered arrangements. For some works, he used real petals and at other times he made watercolor copies or petal cutouts from a range of materials.
The exhibition is drawn from the artist's extensive archive that is now part of the Carolina and Fernando Eseverri Collection in Caracas, Venezuela. Included are drawings, sketches, collages, photographs and other objects. Throughout the exhibition, custom-made display cabinets offer a rare view into an artist's vision and how it relates to archival practices. Accumulate, Classify, Preserve, Display marks the first solo exhibition at an arts institution for Obregón and the first time his archive constitutes the main subject of an exhibition.
"Roberto Obregón is a key figure in the history of conceptual art, well recognized in his home country of Venezuela but not yet in the United States. This exhibition highlights the blindered approach to art history which only now is opening up to the globalism of artists and movements that tie together countries throughout the world. We look forward to our visitors' responses to Obregón's archives, which provide an insider's view to the artist's creative process around the symbolism of the rose," said Frost Art museum Director Jordana Pomeroy.