Picture of artist Magdalena Suarez Frimkess

Magdalena Suarez Frimkess

1 collaboration

Picture of artist Magdalena Suarez Frimkess

Magdalena Suarez Frimkess

Unorthodox ceramics tell the story of a soap opera life

“I don’t have a goal, I just play it day by day. It’s like eating, you have to eat everyday.”

The wonky, mischievous ceramics of Magdalena Suarez Frimkess are totally enchanting. In the 1960s the Venezuelan artist dubbed "the most daring sculptor working in Chile" rose to fame for her unorthodox sculptures and processes. In the following decades she gained international acclaim for work with her husband and lifelong collaborator, Michael Frimkess. But it wasn’t until 2013 that Frimkess had her first solo exhibition, at the age of 84. “I only care what my work looks like,” she explains. “I am indifferent to what it means.” In this search for visual satisfaction, Frimkess pulls inspirati...

The wonky, mischievous ceramics of Magdalena Suarez Frimkess are totally enchanting. In the 1960s the Venezuelan artist dubbed "the most daring sculptor working in Chile" rose to fame for her unorthodox sculptures and processes. In the following decades she gained international acclaim for work with her husband and lifelong collaborator, Michael Frimkess. But it wasn’t until 2013 that Frimkess had her first solo exhibition, at the age of 84. “I only care what my work looks like,” she explains. “I am indifferent to what it means.” In this search for visual satisfaction, Frimkess pulls inspiration from just about everywhere – from the Aztecs to Mickey Mouse. Her friends, family and neighbours all make appearances too. As do references to ancient Japanese ceramics and comics she discovered through trips to the library with her daughter. 

Everything in Frimkess’s artwork is real. In fact, she uses her creative practice a bit like therapy. It’s a way to process things that happen in life, which, by her own admission, have sometimes been a bit like a “soap opera.” When Frimkess was just 18 during the 1940s in Venezuela, she fell pregnant with a married man from the military. Because of societal expectations, the forbidden couple were left with no choice but to flee to Chile and start a new life. Some years later, Frimkess saw an advert for an art programme at the Catholic University in Santiago, which had a visiting tutor from Yale University. She was accepted and became top of the class, experimenting with new techniques and materials like concrete. Soon, partly due to the support of her tutors, she became well-known in the U.S. – where she has now lived for over 60 years.

Bio

Magdalena Suarez Frimkess (she/her) was born in 1929 in Venezuela and now lives and works in Venice, California.

Exhibitions

Magdalena Suarez Frimkess had her first solo show in 2013 aged 84, followed by showcases at White Columns and the Hammer Museum Biennial in 2014. In 2024 her upcoming exhibitions include LACMA, Kaufmann Repetto and El Museo del Barrio Triennial.

Collaborations with Magdalena Suarez Frimkess