By Sérgio B. Martins

Brazilian avant-garde artists of the postwar period labored from a basic yet efficient out-of-jointness. They have been modernist yet far-off from modernism. Europeans and North americans could suppose the same displacement while viewing Brazilian avant-garde paintings; the unforeseen familiarity of the works serves to cause them to strange. 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 commonly well known artists and teams -- together with Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Cildo Meireles, and neoconcretism -- but additionally vital artists and critics who're much less renowned 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 manner that was once substantially at odds with ecu and North American artwork old narratives. He describes defining episodes in Brazil's postwar avant-garde, discussing an 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 overlooked encounters with conceptualism; and monochrome, manifestos, and engagement.

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

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But, most crucially, the connotation of the altar, a space meant for the temporally charged moment of ritual, becomes a token of self-reflexivity. Something is fundamentally changed with the “reading” of all Spatial Poems. The original form the viewer/reader encounters cannot revert back to its original state; that is, one cannot dispel the meaning that now impregnates it, even if the word is again covered. 8 Augusto de Campos, Ovonovelo, 1956. 9 Augusto de Campos, Tensão, 1956. 11 Ferreira Gullar, Lembra, 1959 (reconstruction).

And how can it articulate a politically progressive notion of artistic autonomy? ” 34 Pedrosa’s Trotskyism is once again key here. 35 Pedrosa regarded Gestalt as an authoritative theoretical validation for an optimistic belief in the autonomy of art that found its perfect translation in abstraction—or, more specifically, in constructive abstraction. 26 disagreement than a qualification—one meant to steer the pertinence of Gestalt toward a clear-cut conception of subject-object relation. This involved a passage from the intrinsic meaningfulness of art to art as the producer of unequivocal meanings.

By taking the latter into account, however, we can suggest a crucial distinction between multiplication in Sacilotto and repetition in Castro: in the former, the negative is additive (and thus no longer strictly negative—I am referring here to the intervals that help to multiply the planes)—while in the latter the negative remains as such (since the plane is never in sight). Castro’s famous coherence, his insistence on the same sculptural matrix throughout his career (with a few variations), can thus be reinterpreted from this viewpoint.

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