The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This ninth issue of Nervo Óptico appeared as a bimonthly issue (as the previous one), almost as an exception to the regular monthly schedule. This issue shows a figurative drawing (pencil on paper) by Maria Tomaselli [Cirne Lima] from her 1977 series, Xingú, an illustration of an “oca” [a Native hut]. Beneath the image, the artist placed a quotation from the anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss, from his book Tristes Tropiques, in which he observes: “Here we have a vicious circle: among human beings, a limited capability for mutual communication—and therefore corruption by dealings in common and mutual contact—corresponds to the even lesser capability of their respective representatives to be aware of the richness and significance of their diversity.”
"Nervo Óptico" número nove, ainda com periodicidade atipicamente bimensal, traz um desenho figurativo (lápis sobre papel) de Maria Tomaselli Cirne Lima, da série Xingú, de 1977, retratando uma oca indígena. Abaixo dessa imagem, a artista colocou uma citação de Lévi-Strauss, do livro Tristes Trópicos, em que o antropólogo e filósofo francês observa: "E aqui está, perante mim, o círculo vicioso: quando menos capazes eram as culturas humanas de comunicarem entre si e portanto de se corromperem pelo seu contato mútuo, tanto menos eram capazes os seus emissários respectivos de perceber a riqueza e o significado dessa diversidade". "Nervo Óptico" existiu por 13 edições, de abril de 1977 a setembro de 1978. Foi publicado em Porto Alegre (RS) pelo grupo de artistas que ficaria identificado como grupo N.O. (de Nervo Óptico) e formado por Vera Chaves Barcellos, Carlos Asp, Carlos Pasquetti, Clovis Dariano, Flavio Pons, Mara Alvares e Telmo Lanes, entre outros. Com tiragem média de dois mil exemplares, teve divulgação regional, nacional e até internacional, pelo envio da publicação pelo correio a um amplo mailing de artistas, jornalistas e críticos de arte.
Maria Tomaselli (b. 1941) is an Austrian artist based in Brazil. She was the first artist not a member of the grupo N.O. whose work was presented in the journal Nervo Óptico. Curiously, she was not working in Conceptual art, nor was she tied to experimental practices with the new media; on the contrary, the media in which she was working were painting and drawing. However, Tomaselli did participate in the early meetings held to organize the Porto Alegre group prior to its manifesto, which she obviously refused to sign. Her later appearance in the handbill Nervo Óptico suggests an attempt by the group to include other poetics. This work by Tomaselli comes from the period when she was studying printing in Rio de Janeiro and prior to her departure for Pernambuco, where she went to be close to Native cultures in Northeast Brazil. Years later, the artist would be involved in establishing workshops, newspapers and independent spaces.
Under the epigraph “Publication open to the dissemination of new visual poetics,” Nervo Óptico was published monthly in Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul) for a total of 13 issues (from April 1977 to September 1978). The journal was created by a group of artists who identified themselves with the journal’s initials, N.O. The participants in Nervo Óptico included Vera Chaves Barcellos (b. 1938), Carlos Asp (b. 1949), Carlos Pasquetti (b. 1948), Clovis Dariano (b. 1950), Jesús Escobar (b. 1956), Flávio Pons (b. 1947), Mara Alvares (b. 1948), Romanita Martins (b. 1940) and Telmo Lanes (b. 1955).
The publication was created in the form of a small plaque, printed on only one side of the sheet (32 cm x 22.05cm), with an average run of 2,000 copies. Circulated nationally and internationally, Nervo Óptico was sent out to a broad mailing of artists, journalists and art critics.
The content of Nervo Óptico was basically visual, reproducing works by the group or invited artists, almost all including the language of photography, whether as artwork in itself or as photographic documentation of performances. The publication created a space for debate about contemporary art events far from the values that prevailed in the art market and the demand for collectible objects. Nervo Óptico focused on conceptual art, thus creating its own instrument of legitimation.
All 13 issues of the Porto Alegre publication Nervo Óptico are available in the ICAA digital archive.
For a description of the works in the group’s first exhibition and other artists’ testimony on the semiotic intentions of its work, see “[Em manifestaçao realizada em dezembro último...]” by the Grupo N.O. [doc. no. 1110913]. In addition, regarding the group’s thinking about the artist’s role and creative potential beyond market conditions, see the document distributed during the exhibition entitled “Manifesto” [doc. no. 1110690]. The second issue of this Rio Grande do Sul journal presented work by Mara Álvares [doc. no. 1110914]; the third issue, work by Carlos Asp [doc. no. 1110915]; the fourth showed work by Carlos Pasquetti [doc. no. 1110916]; the fifth issue highlighted the radical approach of Telmo Lanes [doc. no. 1110917]; the sixth issue brought us the photographic work of Clovis Dariano [doc. no. 1110918]; the seventh issue featured the work “Regarding the Smile” by the artist Vera Chaves Barcellos [doc. no. 1110919]; and the eighth issue represented an N.O. group exhibition held at the Galeria Eucatexpo [doc. no. 1110920].
Primeira artista de fora do grupo N.O. a ter sua obra divulgada pelo "Nervo Óptico", Maria Tomaselli não tem perfil de artista conceitual ou ligada a experimentações com novos meios. Sempre se expressou basicamente por meios tradicionais (pintura e desenho). Participou das primeiras reuniões do grupo antes do manifesto mas se recusou a assiná-lo. Pode-se entender essa presença tardia no cartazete "Nervo Óptico" como um movimento de integração empreendido pelo grupo NO, após tantas estranhezas de parte a parte. O conteúdo de "Nervo Óptico" era basicamente visual, reproduzindo obras do grupo ou de convidados, quase todas incorporando a linguagem fotográfica como expressão artística em si ou a documentação fotográfica de performances. A publicação criou um espaço de debate dos fatos artísticos contemporâneos fora do âmbito dos valores consagrados pelo mercado de arte e pela demanda de objetos colecionáveis. Nervo Óptico se dedicava à arte conceitual e criava seu próprio instrumento de legitimação.
Manifesto Nervo Óptico; Catálogo "Espaço NO: Eventos e Artistas Atuantes 1979-1982" (Ed. Funarte, 1982)
k- Escritos e linguagem dos artistas conceituais. Poema objeto. Livros de Artista.