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Article

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Born 14 May 1905, in Rosario (Santa Fé); died 13 October 1981, in Buenos Aires.

Painter, sculptor, engraver, collage artist, photomontage artist, assemblage artist. Figure compositions, landscapes, portraits, still-lifes, scenes with figures.

Nouvelle Figuration, Figuration Narrative.

Nuevo Realismo Group.

Berní was the son of Italian immigrants in Argentina. His childhood and early youth were marked by destitution. In 1915, when his father died, he went to live with his grandmother, where he had to travel 10 kilometres (six miles) on horseback to get to school every morning. From 1916, he was able to study stained glass window technique and attend a drawing course for young people. He was then influenced by the Post-Impressionism of the Spaniard, Joaquín Sorolla. He began to exhibit in 1918.From 1921 to 1924, he abandoned his studies and went to live among the peasants of the Pampa, where he painted landscapes. In 1925, he won a scholarship that enabled him to travel to Europe, where he stayed first in Madrid, then settled in Paris, where he frequented the studios of André Lhote and Othon Friesz at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Montparnasse and discovered the painting of Picasso, Braque and de Chirico. In 1928, still in Paris, he met the Surrealists, associating mainly with Aragon; he did not formally join the movement but he immersed himself in the psychological atmosphere of the group and its Marxist commitment. He read Marx, Engels and Lenin, and met Henri Lefebvre. His painting was influenced by his Surrealist friendships, particularly in the series of photomontages and collages that he embarked on in 1929. In 1930, he returned to Argentina, where he studied further and was still able in 1932 to exhibit his Surrealist paintings of 1929-1931, in which he had mainly applied Lautréamont's formula concerning encounters with random objects.On his return, he had founded the ...

Article

Argentinian, 20th century, male.

Active in France.

Born 27 November 1937, in Buenos Aires.

Installation artist, painter, draughtsman, sculptor, photographer, mixed media.

Neo-Constructivism.

Cafone was a student at the school of art in Buenos Aires and at the Slade School in London. A sculptor who abandoned his sculptor's tools very early on, he looked to drawing as a medium through which to find an equivalent, a medium in which he proved to have astonishing dexterity. His paintings employ mixed media, incorporating sheets of lead, for example. Harking back to his work as an installation sculptor, he also took the venue in which he was exhibiting into account, if needs be creating certain works directly onto the walls of the gallery. If a certain preciousness of materials, and in particular the ornamental details, are set aside, there is a relationship here between Cofone's work and Minimalism, given their common refusal to attach any meaning to the completed object other than the one that defines - in the most material terms possible - its physical relationship with the artist who has created it, not in his image, but on his scale....

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Salvador, Bahia, 1947; d Salvador, Bahia, Aug 9, 2009).

Brazilian photographer and sculptor. In 1964 he trained as a photographer in Berlin, returning to Brazil in 1966. He worked with the photographer Hans Mann in Rio de Janeiro, and as Fulvio Roiter’s assistant on the latter’s journey to Bahia. In 1969 he visited New York, and in the 1970s worked as a sculptor and photographer in São Paolo. In 1980 Cravo Neto won the prize for the best photographer of 1980 from the society of Brazilian art critics. This was in recognition of his extraordinary work in portrait studies, which he produced in front of a dramatic black background, as in Tep, the Indian (1980; see 1988 exh. cat.).

Cravo Neto, Mario La Ciudad de Bahia (Brasília, 1980)Mario Cravo visto da Mario Cravo Neto (Brasília, 1983) Brasil, fotografie di Mario Cravo Neto (exh. cat., intro. J. Amado; Venice, Pal. Fortuny, 1988)Cartographies: 14 artistas latinamericanos...

Article

John-Paul Stonard

[González-Torres, Félix]

(b Guaimaro, Cuba, Nov 26, 1957; d New York, Jan 9, 1996).

American sculptor and photographer of Cuban birth. He moved in 1979 to New York, where he completed a BFA in photography at the Pratt Institute (1983) and an MFA at the International Center of Photography, New York University (1987), as well as enrolling in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program. In 1987 he joined Group Material, a New York-based group of artists whose intention was to work collaboratively, adhering to principles of cultural activism and community education. His own engagement as a gay man with socio-political issues, as well as his exploration of the way in which politics can infiltrate personal life, forms the background to his work, centred around the interaction of public and private spheres. In 1989 he presented his first stacked-paper work, Untitled (Memorial Day Weekend) and Untitled (Veterans Day Sale), exhibited together as Untitled (Monuments) (L. and R. Plehn priv. col., see ...

Article

Roberto Pontual

(b Kozienice, April 12, 1921).

Brazilian sculptor, printmaker, painter and photographer of Polish birth. He left Poland in 1943 to study in Minsk and Leningrad (now St Petersburg), followed by further study with Willi Baumeister in Stuttgart (1945–7). In 1948 he moved to Brazil, living in São Paulo and later in Paraná (1952–6) and Rio de Janeiro (1956–8). The Paraná jungle aroused an interest in nature that was first expressed in paintings and drawings of vegetable forms. After leaving Brazil for Ibiza (1963) he made reliefs in earth and stones, using nature as a raw material rather than merely as a subject. His subsequent engraved reliefs of leaves or sand furrows, and wooden sculptures of the Bahian coast mangrove trees or the Amazonian jungle, were as much an ecological as an aesthetic statement. He frequently used photography to draw attention to such issues as the scorched Brazilian forests, for example in his book ...

Article

Susan Snodgrass

(b Madrid, Spain, 1961).

Chicago-based American sculptor also working in photography, video and installation. He received a BA in art and art history and a BA in Latin American and Spanish literature from Williams College in 1983. In 1989 he earned a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Manglano-Ovalle’s hybrid practice emerged with Tele-vecindario: A Street-Level Video Block Party, a public art project created for Culture in Action, a community-based art program in Chicago in 1992–3. Working with Latino youth in Chicago’s West Town community, an area often challenged by substandard housing, drugs and gang violence, the artist facilitated a multimedia portrait of their lives in which these youth constructed their own images and concept of self. Issues of identity, community and migration, as they relate to both cultural and geographic borders, have been explored throughout his prestigious career that includes collaborative modes of working, as well as individual works sited within the museum or gallery. For Manglano-Ovalle, culture encompasses a broad network of systems—artistic, political, environmental, scientific—in constant dialogue, negotiated by both artist and viewer....

Article

Cuban, 20th century, female.

Active in the USA.

Born 1948, in Havana; died 1985, in New York.

Sculptor, installation artist, performance artist, video artist, photographer.

Land Art, Body Art.

Ana Mendieta's family left Cuba for political reasons. She studied in the USA at the University of Iowa and began as a painter before making a radical change of direction. Ana Mendieta died in mysterious circumstances. From ...

Article

Arthur Ollman

(b São Paulo, Dec 20, 1961).

Brazilian sculptor and photographer, active also in the USA. As a child, Muniz’s underclass family had little exposure to the arts, but his capacity for drawing provided a strong grounding in creating visual imagery. In 1983 Muniz attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. By 1989 he was making sculptural objects with decidedly ironic, humorous, and Dadaist sensibilities. These objects included a bowling ball fitted with wheels and a Pre-Columbian coffee maker. In 1990 Muniz began making three-dimensional drawings with materials such as bent wire or thousands of metres of string, which were subsequently photographed back into two-dimensional images. This led Muniz’s use of many unconventional materials to recreate scenes from artworks in the popular canon, such as the Mona Lisa in peanut butter and jelly and the famous photograph of Jackson Pollock by Hans Namuth in chocolate syrup. He also employed dust, sugar, garbage, diamonds, human virus cells, and single grains of sand on which he drew microscopic sand castles. The photographic print of the assemblage is always his final product....

Article

Brazilian, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 20 December 1961, in São Paulo, Brazil.

Photographer, sculptor, mixed media artist, draughtsman.

Vik Muniz received a partial scholarship in São Paulo for a life drawing class when in his early teens, which he attended for three years. His interest in the mechanics of seeing and how we understand visual imagery, in combination with his time in Brazil during the reign of the propaganda-filled military regime of the 1970s, inculcated a desire to understand and correct how we perceive and engage with art. Before moving to New York City and seriously pursuing his career as an artist, he studied advertising at Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado de São Paulo and worked briefly at an advertising agency. Muniz moved to the United States in 1984, settling in New York City in 1986, and currently splits his time between his studio in Brooklyn and his home in Rio de Janeiro....

Article

John-Paul Stonard

(b Jalapa, Veracruz, April 27, 1962).

Mexican sculptor, photographer and video artist. He studied at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in Mexico City (1981–4) and at the Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid (1986–7). In 1995 he worked in Berlin on a Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD) grant. On his arrival in Berlin, Orozco bought a yellow Schwalbe (Swallow) motor scooter. This featured in a series of 40 Cibachrome photographs, Until You Find Another Yellow Schwalbe (1995; London, Tate), each of which shows this scooter paired with the identical models he came across in Berlin. The Schwalbe appears as a symbol of the recently defunct East Germany, where it had been produced, but also as a more general symbol of obsolescence. The strategy of reframing found objects (often as banal as pieces of fruit) is central to Orozco’s work, providing a connection between public and private spheres. This reframing is usually based on formal alignment or coincidence, for instance with ...

Article

Brazilian, 20th century, female.

Born 1929, in Nova Friburgo; died 3 May 2004, in Rio de Janeiro.

Draughtsman, engraver, sculptor, film producer, performance artist.

Lygia Pape studied philosophy and aesthetics before taking up the visual arts. She was a member of the Frente group in Rio in ...

Article

Brazilian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1962, in São Paulo.

Sculptor, photographer.

The forms of Edgard de Souza's lacquered wood sculptures often recall everyday objects such as pearls, molecules and bicycle seats. He is particularly interested in solid shapes and his suspended, pale-tinted pieces suggest sexual connotations. He lives and works in São Paulo....