THE SEVEN VANISHING POINTS
New York City, United States
March 15 – 31, 1979
"The Seven Vanishing Points is much, much, much better than Studio 54." – Andy Warhol
Rolando Peña and the Vanishing Point
by Gregory Battcock
Rio de Janeiro, March, 1979
For many people the name Leonardo da Vinci signifies artistic excellence. Similarly Leonardo's time, the High Renaissance in Italy, suggests a period of intense artistic activity that was thoroughly integrated within the broad social, ecclesiastical, spiritual and scientific contexts of the era. Thus Leonardo and the High Renaissance represent a seemingly unattainable goal, for it hardly seems possible that in our time an art of high aesthetic quality could once again engage the technological, scientific and social worlds as it did back then. Leonardo's art is characterized by its intensely geometrical compositional brilliance, a genius that plays an important role in the artists' technological sketches and "blueprints." It is precisely this single, pivotal characteristic of Leonardo's work that Rolando Pena has isolated and high-lighted in his new creations. For Pena, a prince of the High Renaissance come to the present period in order to illuminate the way to bring art back to its rightful, essential place in the spiritual order of things, the vanishing point is a central issue. But now the vanishing point takes on a different meaning. It becomes the point of appearance. The appearance of a vanishing point is to be viewed as a cause for celebration. Modern art is, generally, an art of minimal appearance. What is not apparent is, frequently, of primary importance in Minimal works. To reemphasize the importance of the vanishing point, in order to articulate a new appearance, is to contradict the value of disappearance.
In Peña's visual speculations the preoccupation with the values of the vanishing point — in fact all seven vanishing points — is read as a reaffirmation of appearance in art. It is, to be sure, a new kind of art for our time, an art that is not what it is but what it appears to be. Thus Peña confirms the values of the highest art of humankind, the art of the High Renaissance. Peña is the first artist of our time to reintroduce Renaissance meaning in art. He has assumed the mantle of responsibility in art from the Renaissance master. Thus he may well prove to be the most important artist of the modern age, and his recent works may someday be recognized as the most important works of art created since the Renaissance.
Rolando Told Me...
by Alejandro Otero
New York, February, 1979
Rolando told me the program of his exhibition. He showed to me plans, drawings and details of what shall be. But, I know him since ever: seeking to assume his role as a creator; as if he besieged in order to be involved and conduct. To behave in this manner, with his dedication and seriousness; implies, without any doubts, a compromise with one or with the many renovating perspectives of contemporary creativity. I cannot say that I am on his side, in what he has done or on what he is actually making, because I perceive and feel in a different way; but I do respect him support him and celebrate him with great sincerity.