Constructing an avant-garde : art in Brazil, 1949-1979 by Sérgio B. Martins

By Sérgio B. Martins

Brazilian avant-garde artists of the postwar period labored from a primary yet effective out-of-jointness. They have been modernist yet far away from modernism. Europeans and North american citizens could believe the same displacement while viewing Brazilian avant-garde paintings; the unforeseen familiarity of the works serves to cause them to unusual. In Constructing an Avant-Garde, Sérgio Martins seizes in this uncanny obliqueness and makes use of it because the foundation for a reconfigured account of the historical past of Brazil's avant-garde. His dialogue covers not just commonly well known artists and teams -- together with Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Cildo Meireles, and neoconcretism -- but additionally very important artists and critics who're much less popular open air Brazil, together with Mário Pedrosa, Ferreira Gullar, Amílcar de Castro, Luís Sacilotto, Antonio Dias, and Rubens Gerchman.

Martins argues that artists of Brazil's postwar avant-garde up to date modernism in a fashion that used to be substantially at odds with ecu and North American paintings old narratives. He describes defining episodes in Brazil's postwar avant-garde, discussing the most important serious texts, together with Gullar's "Theory of the Non-Object," a phenomenological account of neoconcrete artistic endeavors; Oiticica, constructivity, and Mondrian; portraiture, self-portraiture, and identification; the nonvisual flip and neglected encounters with conceptualism; and monochrome, manifestos, and engagement.

The Brazilian avant-garde's hijacking of modernism, Martins exhibits, received extra complexity as artists started to face their foreign minimalist and conceptualist contemporaries within the Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. Reconfiguring not just paintings heritage yet their personal historical past, Brazilian avant-gardists have been capable of face modern demanding situations from a distinct -- and indirect -- standpoint.

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54 It is wrong, however, to see the neoconcrete criticism of the “mechanical” only in terms of seriality. As a matter of fact, Gullar’s vocabulary in this case was borrowed straight from his main theoretical reference at the time, Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s The Structure of Behavior, from which I want to quote a particularly elucidating passage: A mechanical action, whether the word is taken in a restricted or looser sense, is one in which the cause and the effect are decomposable into real elements which have a one-to-one correspondence.

One of my aims, however, is to place this schism, to which I will return in due time, in a different historical perspective. 3), and see the programmatic repetition of forms in the former opposing the intuitive articulation of planes in the latter. 4) as a (literally) circular play on Gestalt principles. What is less easy—but necessary—is to bear in mind the strategic value all of these terms and theories had, and the way this value shifted over time. In some ways, the non-object is indeed a myth.

Photo: Daniel Coury. , the redemptive perspective of subject-object relation it offered, consonant with its utopian cultural context) was thus, in this precise sense, a constructive requirement that depended, as such, on its unequivocal articulation via constructive forms. 86 The case of Amilcar de Castro is exemplary here, as the misleading simplicity of his sculptures makes them privileged screens for interpretive projections. What may have been initially a critical description of his work became, over the years, a hackneyed formula, an obstacle to further critical reflection.

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