Argentine artist Roberto Aizenberg (1928-1996) began his career as a student of Juan Batlle Planas. Drawing from surrealism, automatism, and metaphysical art, Aizenberg eventually formulated a reparatory of images that appear repeatedly in his work, including towers, fans, harlequins, and headless human figures. Aizenberg self-identified as a “neosurrealist” or “para-surrealist” and experimented extensively cross-media, producing paintings, drawings, collages, intaglio prints, and sculptures in bronze and marble.
Roberto “Bobby” Aizenberg was the son of Russian-Jewish immigrants who settled in the province of Entre Ríos, Argentina, before moving to the country’s capital when the artist was eight years old. A painter, draughtsman, sculptor, and collagist, Aizenberg is considered one of Latin America’s greatest twentieth-century artists, as well as Argentina’s premier surrealist. He began his career as an architect, but left the field to study painting; first, with Antonio Berni, and from 1950 to 1953, with Juan Batlle Planas, an artist with a heavy emphasis on surrealist theory and psychoanalysis.
Drawing from automatism, surrealism, and metaphysical art, Aizenberg was highly influenced by the work of Giorgio de Chirico, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, and Pablo Picasso, while developing his own visual vocabulary across a variety of media. The artist’s work has always retained an attention to construction, space, light, and mostly, to his architectural background. Aizenberg was drawn to architecture for its commitment to structure and order; at the same time, he strove to retain a delicate balance between geometric abstraction and symbolism within his practice. As a result, the artist’s work is replete with forms ranging from polyhedral constructions to uninhabited buildings; from distorted harlequins to headless figures; and from empty landscapes to mysteriously isolated constructions.
The most prevalent motif in Aizenberg’s body of work, is that of a geometrically abstract composition, mostly rendered in the form of a building or a tower punctured by rows of vacant windows. The artist’s work does not align itself with the surrealist aim of synthesizing wakefulness with dream states; instead, it acquires its meaning through the conflation of the orderly and the unreal.
Aizenberg’s first solo exhibition was held at the Galería Galatea in Buenos Aires in 1958, followed by six other solo exhibitions within a ten-year period. In 1969, the renowned Instituto Torcuato Di Tella (ITDT) (The Torcuato di Tella Institute) held a major retrospective of the artist’s work which included fifty paintings, two hundred drawings, and a number of sculptures and collages. Following this, Aizenberg’s work has been included in a number of solo and group exhibitions across Europe, the United States, and Latin America.
Due to the military coup in Argentina in 1976 and 1977, Aizenberg was forced into exile, moving to Paris in 1977, Tarquinia in 1981, and Milan in 1983. A year later, he returned to Argentina to teach at various schools of Fine Art and deliver seminars on painting.
Aizenberg’s work is found in a number of prestigious public and private collections, including: the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires; Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) Colección Costantini; Museo Fortabat, Buenos Aires; Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas; Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York; The Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, amongst others.