Born in Germany into a Jewish family, Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt) graduated in Architecture and Engineering from Stuttgart Technical College in 1938. The following year, she left Germany to escape the Nazi regime and emigrated to Venezuela, where she opened a furniture and lamp design studio in Caracas. Although she never saw herself as an artist, in 1953 she began a long and prolific artistic career. Gego travelled frequently to Europe and the United States, and lived in New York between 1960 and 1963.
Her work moves between the influence of European Constructivism and the dominant abstract and kinetic art in Latin America in the fifties and sixties. All of Gego's work involves constant experimentation using the line as a powerful generator. She drew lines in two and three dimensions and with different materials, in many cases recycled or discarded, such as steel, wire and nylon. Whether on paper, three-dimensionally or in building interventions, an interest in space, the transparency and lightness of the materials, and the centrality of the structure are the core elements of her work.
Since the late fifties, Gego’s work has been exhibited regularly in Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, New York and San Francisco. Major retrospectives include Gego. Line as Object, which was held at the Hamburger Kunsthalle (2013); Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart (2014); and the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK (2014). Her work is in prominent collections such as the Museo de Bellas Artes, Caracas; MoMA, New York; Tate Modern, London; Chicago Art Institute; Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; and MACBA, Barcelona.