By Sérgio B. Martins
Brazilian avant-garde artists of the postwar period labored from a primary yet efficient out-of-jointness. They have been modernist yet far-off from modernism. Europeans and North americans could believe the same displacement whilst viewing Brazilian avant-garde paintings; the unforeseen familiarity of the works serves to lead 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 background of Brazil's avant-garde. His dialogue covers not just generally popular artists and teams -- together with Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Cildo Meireles, and neoconcretism -- but additionally vital artists and critics who're much less popular outdoors 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 considerably at odds with ecu and North American paintings historic 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 works of art; 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 indicates, received additional complexity as artists started to face their overseas minimalist and conceptualist contemporaries within the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies. Reconfiguring not just paintings background yet their personal historical past, Brazilian avant-gardists have been capable of face modern demanding situations from a special -- and indirect -- standpoint.
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Additional resources for Constructing an avant-garde : art in Brazil, 1949-1979
2 cm. Private Collection. com. 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.
I take the cue here from Gullar himself: after three or four brief opening sentences, mostly dedicated to saying what the non-object is not, the “Theory of the Non-object”—the now famous essay he wrote in 1959—suddenly turns to a reappraisal of modern art through the lens of the newfound concept (and under the subtitle “Death of Painting”). ”1 It did, and still does—in more than one sense, perhaps. First, it does require that we review the kind of retrospection Gullar had in mind. ” 2 What is crucial about this insight is the historical consciousness it ascribes to the avant-garde.
But it is worth noting the problem of restricting Gestalt theory in Brazil solely to the role of an overdetermining theoretical dogma that was “imported” alongside other international concretist tenets; for this is to ignore the key role Gestalt played as a theoretical intervention in the hands of Pedrosa, its earlier local advocate. 15 And there is no question about the nature of those positions in 1949. 16 In this context, Pedrosa’s engagement with Gestalt theory must be seen as strategic rather than dogmatic (which partly explains his faded interest in it in the 1970s).