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Article

Nelly Perazzo

revised by William Schwaller

Argentine movement of the 1940s based in Buenos Aires and led by Gyula Košice and the Uruguayan artists Carmelo Arden Quin (1913–2010) and Rhod Rothfuss (1920–1969). Together with Joaquín Torres García and the Argentine poet Edgar Bayley (1919–1990), they were responsible for the publication in early 1944 of a single issue of a magazine, Arturo, which heralded the development of the Constructivist movement in Argentina, stressing the importance of pure invention and of interdisciplinary links. Tomás Maldonado designed the cover and Lidy Prati (1921–2008) was responsible for most of the vignettes. Despite Maldonado’s gestural and almost automatist cover design, the editorial content of the magazine suggested a coherent aesthetic that was also promoted in booklets published by Košice and Bayley in 1945. Articles by Arden Quin and Košice stressed the pure quality of plastic images free of naturalistic or symbolic connotations, whose radical character was distinguished by Bayley from what he termed the falsity of such movements as Expressionism, Realism, and Romanticism. Rothfuss published the article “El marco: un problema de plástica actual” (“The Frame: A Problem in Contemporary Art”), which articulated a critique of the rectangular picture frame inherited through the Western tradition and called for a ...

Article

Argentine group of artists formed in 1952 and active until 1954. It was founded on the initiative of the art critic Aldo Pellegrini (1903–1975) as a union of Constructivist painters belonging to the Asociación arte concreto invención—Tomás Maldonado, Alfredo Hlito, Lidy Prati (1921–2008), Ennio Iommi, and Claudio Girola (1923–1994)—and four independent semi-abstract artists: José Antonio Fernández Muro, Sarah Grilo, Miguel Ocampo, and Hans Aebi (1923–1985). Pellegrini’s main concern was with the quality of the artists’ work rather than with a shared program. They were the first abstract artists in Argentina to exhibit together as a group abroad: in 1953 they showed both at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro and at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Pelligrini was pleased with the genuine interaction within the group. The work of the independent artists became more rigorous and economical, inclining progressively toward geometric abstraction, and their lack of dogmatism in turn led the Constructivists to adopt a more flexible approach. The group disbanded on Maldonado’s move to Germany in ...

Article

Arturo  

Argentine art magazine published as a single issue in Buenos Aires in early 1944. Its avant-garde stance proved influential on the development of Constructivism in Argentina, leading directly to Arte Madí and to Asociación arte concreto invención.

Lauria, Adriana. “Concrete Art in Argentina.” Centro Virtual de Arte Argentino (Jan 2003): ...

Article

Argentine group formed in November 1945 by Tomás Maldonado and other Constructivist artists and active until c. 1964. Its other original members were Lidy Prati (1921–2008), Alfredo Hlito, Manuel Espinosa, Raúl Lozza (1911–2008), Juan Alberto Molenberg (1921–2011), Ennio Iommi, Claudio Girola (1923–1994), Jorge Souza (b 1919), Primaldo Mónaco (1921–2004), Oscar Núñez (b 1919), Antonio Caraduje (b 1920), and the poet Edgar Bayley (1919–1990). Maldonado and Prati were prominent among the artists involved in the publication of the single issue of the magazine Arturo in early 1944, in which the image–invention was proposed as an alternative to representational, naturalistic, or symbolic imagery, but they did not take part in two exhibitions of associated artists in 1945 that led to the establishment of Arte Madí. In fact, their central role in setting up the Asociación Arte Concreto Invención was a way of declaring their independence from the other group....

Article

Aleca le Blanc

(b Grão Mogol, Minas Gerais State, April 25, 1944; d Montes Claros, Minas Gerais State, March 28, 1986).

Brazilian painter. Colares worked in Rio de Janeiro during the country’s military dictatorship (1964–85), his work synthesizing the Constructivist sensibilities of Brazil’s Concrete artists of the 1950s with the rapidly expanding urban visual culture of Rio de Janeiro. Originally from a small rural town, Colares moved to Rio de Janeiro to study art in 1965 at the age of 21. He became acquainted with young avant-garde artists such as Antonio Manuel (b 1947), Antônio Dias, and Hélio Oiticica, and participated in the landmark exhibition Nova objetividade brasileira at the Museu de Arte Moderna in 1967.

Having rejected his civil engineer training, he dedicated his attention to courses at the Escola de Belas Artes and Ivan Serpa’s influential Open Studio at the Museu de Arte Moderna. There he learnt about the European avant-garde and figures such as Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, and Giacomo Balla, who became important aesthetic reference points. In an interview with curator Frederico Morais, he stated, ‘the painting that most influenced me was Nude Descending a Staircase by Marcel Duchamp’. Colares translated the dynamism and structure of the European tradition into his own large paintings that depicted the bright colours, high velocity, and multitude of buses constantly moving through Rio’s urban centre. The compositions took on a geometric format and Colares painted representations of fragments of the vehicles—headlights, body, and grilles—into the discrete spaces of the configuration, frequently in the form of a grid. That Colares only captured a snippet of the bus re-enacts the pedestrian’s visual experience; as they hurtle by at high speed, one can only comprehend a fraction of the vehicle before it has passed. Colares executed these by applying industrial paint to aluminium panels, creating a shiny and blemish-free image of urban life. And while this approach to the serial repetition of consumer culture creates an obvious visual link to the contemporaneous Pop art movement in the USA, Colares’ paintings cannot be divorced from the circumstances of the military dictatorship in Brazil, which legalized surveillance and censorship. Although not overtly political, it is impossible to know whether these paintings celebrate or criticize life in Rio de Janeiro. Many artists working in Brazil at the time created works with similar interpretive ambiguity, a mechanism by which one could potentially insert veiled political criticism and still avoid punishment....

Article

Leyla Dunia

(b Caracas, Mar 14, 1925).

Venezuela painter, sculptor, and muralist. He was a prominent artist of the abstract movement in Venezuela. His best-known work uses cylinders, cubes, and other volumetric shapes displayed serially in order to investigate the dialog between geometric forms and light. From 1940 to 1945 he studied at the Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Aplicadas in Caracas. In 1945 he participated in a students’ protest that aspired to revolutionize the pedagogical system of the academy, considering it obsolete and restricted. The leaders of the protest were expelled and created the groups La Barraca de Guaicaipuro and La Barraca de Mariperez, in which Debourg was an active participant. In 1948 he assisted the Taller Libre de Arte, attracted by their experimentation with figuration and cubism. In 1949 he traveled to Paris and started working with geometry and abstractionism. In 1950 he joined the group of Venezuelan artists and intellectuals Los Disidentes, who were interested in abstract-geometric visual language and what they considered to be an esthetic renewal of the Venezuelan art canon. Debourg participated in the group’s discourse not only through his paintings but also by publishing several articles in the homonym magazine ...

Article

Elena Shtromberg

(b Campina Grande, Paraíba, 1944; d Aug 1, 2018).

Brazilian multimedia artist. After a nomadic childhood Dias arrived in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 14. Shortly after, he studied printmaking with the master engraver Oswaldo Goeldi at his workshop in the Escola Nacional de Belas Artes. Traces of his background in printmaking are visible in his use of text and adherence to a rigorous geometry throughout his oeuvre, most apparent in a series of graphic paintings such as Project for an Artistic Attitude (1970) and The Hardest Way (1970). In 1966, a scholarship from the French government took Dias to Paris, where he resided until 1968. Later he moved to Milan where he lived, on and off, for many years, with extended stays in New York, Nepal, and Germany. This itinerant existence and the condition of exile is referred to in the titles of such works as the gridded painting Anywhere is My Land...

Article

Horacio Safons

(b Buenos Aires, May 4, 1923; d 1993).

Argentine painter. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires from 1938 to 1942 and in 1945 was a founder-member of the Asociación Arte Concreto Invención. He played a leading role in the development of abstract art in Argentina during the 1940s and 1950s. From 1945 he worked in a Constructivist style that took as its starting-point the notion of a line fracturing the plane in the work of Joaquín Torres García; by the early 1950s this was elaborated into compositions of pure geometrical forms. From 1954 to 1962 he explored effects of vibrating color, first using discernible forms conveyed in a pointillist technique and then by juxtaposing lightly applied flat brushstrokes in diluted colors to create a shimmering veil-like surface.

While living in Mexico from 1963 to 1973, Hlito developed a vocabulary of rhythmic, fundamentally organic forms using curved lines; these led to acrylic paintings in a vertical format in which vibrant atmospheres, interpenetrated by dynamic planes, generated monumental spaces of glittering color. In ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Rosario, Mar 20, 1926; d San Justo, May 13, 2013).

Argentine sculptor. His father was a sculptor, and Iommi studied in his father’s workshop and attended metalwork courses. He was a founder-member of the Asociación Arte Concreto Invención and is one of the most representative Constructivist sculptors in Argentina. In 1954 he created Continual Forms (white concrete, 2.0 × 0.8 × 1.2 m), a sculpture for a house in La Plata designed by Le Corbusier. His highly formal work was characterized at first by an economy of means, rigorous logic, and dynamic rhythms and tensions, with an intelligible and rational structure of form that was optimistic in tone. It was with such works that he won a gold medal in Brussels at the Exposition Universelle et Internationale in 1958, took part in the exhibition Concret Art at the Kunsthaus, Zurich, in 1958, and participated hors concours in the São Paulo Biennale in 1961 and Venice Biennale in 1964.

Iommi completely changed direction in ...

Article

Ticio Escobar

(b Asunción, 1921; d Asunción, May 14, 1993).

Paraguayan painter and engraver. She studied under Jaime Bestard and Lívio Abramo in Asunción and from 1958 in São Paulo, Brazil. Her paintings of the 1950s were Cubist-inspired landscapes and still lifes in oils. In the late 1950s she began to transpose her schematized pictorial style into wood engraving; in the early 1960s her engravings were increasingly based on the simple play of black and white and textures, and she then passed through a phase of abstraction related to Art informel finally to reach a purified but effectively suggestive abstraction based on organic forms. Her engravings of this period show her skill in synthesis and her capacity for expression: large shapes are realized straightforwardly in black and white but are animated by an intense inner energy. In the 1970s she embarked on a new technique based on multiple impressions and the use of color: large masses of strong shades and contrasting tones were superimposed and juxtaposed to provoke special chromatic tensions. This series of engravings, entitled ...

Article

Jorge Glusberg

[Fallik, Fernando]

(b Košice, Czechoslovakia [now Slovak Republic], 1924; d Buenos Aires, May 25, 2016).

Argentine sculptor, theorist, and poet of Slovak birth. A resident of Argentina from 1928, he studied at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes “Manuel Belgrano” in Buenos Aires, and in 1944 he collaborated with Joaquín Torres García and the Argentine poet Edgar Bayley (1919–1990) on the magazine Arturo (one issue only), which proposed geometric abstraction for the first time in Argentina. He was also a leading figure of Arte Madí, together with Carmelo Arden Quin (1913–2010). During this period he produced his first articulated mobiles (e.g. Royi, 1944; see Glusberg 1985, 73), which involved the active participation of the spectator, and early examples of sculptures made of neon (e.g. Madí Aluminium Structure No. 3, 1946). Like his colleagues in Arte Madí, he proposed the radical autonomy of the art object, and in his later work he explored the possibilities of a diverse range of materials, including even water in his ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

(b Buenos Aires, Apr 24, 1922).

Argentine painter, graphic designer, teacher, and theorist. He studied at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes in Buenos Aires from 1938. In 1944 he was a co-founder of the Argentine avant-garde review Arturo, which was concerned with both art and literature and led to the formation in 1945 of the Asociación arte concreto invención, of which he was also one of the main instigators. In 1948 he traveled to Europe, where he came into contact with Max Bill and other Swiss Constructivists, whose example inspired him both as a painter and as a theorist on his return to Argentina. Blue with Structure and A Form and Series (both 1950, Buenos Aires, Mus. A. Mod.) are typical of a rigorous type of painting with which he became identified. He stressed the application of such ideas, moreover, not only to art but also to social and political concerns, seeking nothing less than the transformation of the physical environment in which we live. Such convictions gave coherence to all his activities from that time on, including his co-founding in ...

Article

Nelly Perazzo

Argentine movement initiated in Buenos Aires in 1947 under the leadership of the painter Raúl Lozza (1911–2008) and the theoreticians Rembrandt Lozza (1915–1990) and Abraham Haber (1924–1986). It was announced in 1948 by an exhibition and manifesto. Like the Asociación Arte Concreto Invención, from whose internal disagreements the movement emerged, it was concerned with the promotion of Constructivism in Argentina. The theories they promulgated were also conveyed through a magazine, Perceptismo: Teórico y polémico, published from 1950 to 1953. One of their primary concerns was with the relationship between the quantity (in terms of surface area) and quality of flat color; they conceived of the surface as a field against which to arrange shapes whose only justification lay in their interrelationships. In rejecting the supposed conflict between pictorial or fictitious space and the physical space in which we move, they proposed that both were equivalent in value. Lozza’s use of enamel on wood to create surfaces as polished and perfect as lacquer typified the technical perfection sought by these painters as a means of suppressing any trace of subjectivity that would otherwise distract the observer from the physical presence of the work, as, for example, in ...

Article

Angel Kalenberg

(b Montevideo, Jul 28, 1874; d Montevideo, Aug 8, 1949).

Uruguayan painter, teacher, and theorist, active also in Spain and France. His father was a Catalan emigrant from Mataró and his mother was Uruguayan. Financial problems forced the family to return to Catalonia in 1891, and he entered the Escuela de Artes y Oficios in Mataró. In 1892 he went to Barcelona, where he attended the Academia Baixas and became involved in the Cercle Artistic, also working as an illustrator for magazines and participating in various exhibitions. In 1903–1904 he collaborated with Antoni Gaudí on the Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia (begun 1882) in Barcelona and on renovating the stained glass in the cathedral of Palma de Mallorca. In 1905, through the works he exhibited at the Sala Parés, his talent as a muralist was recognized by Eugenio d’Ors. He became involved in teaching and met Manolita Piña, whom he married in 1909. In 1910 he provided decorations for the Uruguayan pavilion at the Exposition Universelle et Internationale in Brussels. In ...