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Aracy Amaral scrutinizes Tarsila do Amaral’s body of work in search of traces of Surrealism; she also explains that the artist’s thematic and formal universe was conditioned by spending her childhood at her family’s coffee plantation in the state of São Paulo. According to Amaral, for the first time, in 1961, an anonymous critic pointed out a certain Surrealist quality in Tarsila’s work. Prior to that, Flávio de Carvalho and Osório César had already noticed her reference to dreams in her work. On the whole, most of the available information referring to the content of Tarsila’s paintings describes it as essentially Brazilian. Aracy Amaral claims that Tarsila’s work is firmly rooted in the idea of “anthropophagy,” a phase that began with her work A negra (1923). The former believes that Tarsila had not realized that she was expressing subconscious images until she produced Abaporú [Anthropophagy, 1928], although she never expressly set out to create works of a Surrealist nature.
Aracy Amaral percorre a obra de Tarsila do Amaral em busca de elementos surrealistas. Explica o universo temático e formal da artista pela infância na fazenda de café da família, no interior de São Paulo. Segundo a autora, um critico anônimo teria apontado pela primeira vez, em 1961, o elemento surrealista na produção da artista. Porém, antes dele, Flavio de Carvalho e Osório César já haviam notado a representação de sonhos. Demais comentários críticos atentaram apenas para dados de uma pintura tida como genuinamente brasileira. Para Amaral, a obra de Tarsila estaria na base do conceito de antropofagia e Negra (1923) seria ponto de partida dessa fase da artista. Para a crítica, Tarsila dera-se conta de que trabalhava imagens subconscientes apenas com Abaporu (1928), apesar de nunca haver tido a intenção consciente de criar obras surrealistas.
Aracy Amaral (b. 1930) is a historian and art critic who has taken a keen interest in Latin American art since 1975. She attended the Austin Symposium in Texas, where she established relationships with Latin American critics including Marta Traba, Juan Acha, and Damián C. Bayón, who piqued her interest in the “identity” aspect of art that was very much in vogue during the 1970s. In her opinion, in the article “Modernidade e identidade: as duas Américas Latinas, ou três, fora do tempo” [see doc. no. 776159], what is “new” is duty-bound to express self-affirmation, and is intimately associated with the idea of what is “Brazilian,” and what is “traditional,” and with the concept of “internationalism.”
Aracy Amaral has undoubtedly written more about the work of Tarsila do Amaral (1886–1973) than anyone, including her book Tarsila: sua obra e seu tempo (São Paulo: Editora Perspectiva, 1975). In another book—Artes Plásticas na Semana de 22 (São Paulo, Editora Perspectiva, 1970)—she discusses the key event of Tarsila’s generation, the Semana de Arte Moderna in 1922, which Tarsila did not attend because she was in Paris at the time, but she was in agreement with the Semana themes. The “modernists” who were involved in the event were not particularly interested in Surrealism, which is why this researcher strains to detect the traces she finds in several aspects of the artist’s work that lead her to her conclusion. To give legitimacy to her reading, Aracy refers to interviews that were published in RASM magazine (Revista Anual do Salão de Maio) in 1939, in which Tarsila states that she did not notice the subconscious nature of some of the images in her paintings until long after she had finished them.
There are two early articles by Mário de Andrade that shed light on Tarsila do Amaral’s work. The first of these, “Tarsila” [doc. no. 781921], addresses the subject of invention, because de Andrade sees in her “a creative imagination at the service of an intelligent, critical culture.” The other article, which has the same title, was published by the IEB-USP (1999) and is about their correspondence; it shows that one of the most remarkable aspects of the cultural anthropophagy ideas of the São Paulo group, to which Tarsila belonged, involved the expression of a desire for a sense of nationality, albeit of a more flexible nature [doc. no. 781938].
Aracy Amaral é a principal comentadora da obra de Tarsila do Amaral, sobre a qual escreveu o livro "Tarsila: sua obra e seu tempo" (Perspectiva, São Paulo, 1975). A crítica analisou também a Semana de Arte Moderna de 1922, da qual Tarsila não participou por estar em Paris, mas cujas idéias compartilhava ("Artes Plásticas na Semana de 22". São Paulo, Perspectiva, 1970). O surrealismo não era uma referência explícita para os modernistas de 1922; daí o esforço de Amaral no sentido de buscar elementos em várias fases da pintora que confirmem sua interpretação. Para legitimar sua análise, ela conta com a fala da própria artista em depoimento publicado na Revista Anual do Salão de Maio (RASM), em 1939, em que Tarsila diz ter se dado conta do caráter subconsciente de algumas de suas imagens apenas muito depois de criá-las.
Maria Martins. Mirante das Artes. São Paulo, n.12, nov./dez.1968.
f- Surrealismo e modernismo no Brasil