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.
In this text, Guy Brett discusses work by Mira Schendel. Brett focuses on her drawings from the sixties, including the 1966 series entitled Droguinhas—a word made up by the artist’s daughter, Ada, to refer to “little nothings” or worthless things. While Brett recognizes and analyzes the singularities of this work, he draws parallels between it and the production of other artists, such as Tropicália (1967) and Nada (1971) by Hélio Oiticica. The notions of “emptiness,” “silence,” “negation,” and “nothingness” are the common denominator of a number of radical artistic experiments from the post-World War II era. In the case of Brazil, the idea of “emptiness” is expressed, Brett argues, in both conflict and affinity between ideas and the world. By heightening the active role of the medium of paper as a material in its own right, Schendel, in Brett’s view, takes a step forward in the Droguinhas series. Insofar as it is conceived as “sculpture,” the Droguinhas works are a more concrete call to emptiness than Schendel’s earlier drawings. The international nature of Schendel’s production becomes obvious when her work is compared to that of Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, Barnett Newman, or John Cage, which Brett links together on the basis of Zen philosophy, among other things. As Brett clarifies in his introduction to the collection, he bases his analysis on the presence/absence dichotomy, which he views as “one of the greatest paradoxes of emptiness.” He argues that this dichotomy also underlies the work of other Brazilian artists, including Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Cildo Meireles, and Jac Leirner, although in Schendel’s work, the contradiction serves as a “linguistic search.”
Guy Brett discute obras de Mira Schendel, em particular desenhos da década de 1960 e o trabalho "Droguinha", de 1966. Articulando impressões e análise das obras, Brett traça paralelos com trabalhos de outros artistas, entre eles, os penetráveis "Tropicália" (1967) e "Nada" (1971), de Hélio Oiticica. Noções relacionadas ao conceito de vazio - silêncio, negação, nada - seriam o denominador comum entre várias propostas da arte do pós-guerra, que com isso buscavam questionar o sistema artístico. Na arte brasileira, o "vazio" expressaria tanto o conflito como a proximidade entre as idéias e o mundo. Para Brett, a passagem de Schendel dos desenhos à série "Droguinhas" se deve à exacerbação da função ativa do papel como material, em seu trabalho anterior. Segundo o crítico, a série pensada enquanto escultura incita o vazio, da maneira como faziam os desenhos graficamente.
Brett first wrote on Brazilian art in 1964 after meeting sculptor Sergio Camargo in Paris. The next year, Brett began corresponding with Mira Schendel, who would exhibit in London in 1966. Brett would write on Schendel’s radical work again three decades later, in 1996, when he further developed the arguments laid out in this brief essay on the Droguinhas (1965). The text discussed here was published under the title “Ativamente o vazio” in a book coordinated by Sônia Salzstein.
Born in Switzerland, artist Mira Schendel (1919–88) settled in Brazil in 1952. She became widely known for drawings on rice paper as well as pictorial and three-dimensional work that addressed philosophy, in particular anthroposophy, from early on. She made her first monotypes on rice paper in 1964, and produced some two hundred drawings that year, each one with phrases or words in Italian, German, and/or Portuguese, the languages that due to the artist’s background, were most familiar to her. With these works, she participated in the VIII São Paulo Biennial in 1965. For the Droguinhas series discussed here, which was produced in 1966, the artist twisted and knotted the rice paper support [see doc. no. 1111213].
London-based art critic, curator, and international lecturer Guy Brett (b. 1942) was the cofounder, with Paul Keeler, of the gallery Signals and of the publication Newsbulletin of Signals. He worked closely with Mira Schendel, holding a solo show of her work at Signals in 1966. Brett’s essays, which almost always have a radical or experimental bent, are published regularly in international art magazines; he has also written monographic essays. He did significant work on Kinetic art from the time of that movement’s emergence in Europe and Venezuela. His widely known books include Kinetic Art: The Language of Movement (London: Studio Vista, 1968); Force Fields: Phases of the Kinetic (London: Hayward Gallery, 2000); Carnival of Perception: Selected Writings on Art (London: Institute of International Visual Arts, 2004); and this text, Brasil experimental - arte/vida: proposições e paradoxos (org. Kátia Maciel) (Rio de Janeiro: Contra Capa Livraria, 2005).
For more information on Brett’s work on Brazilian art, see “Uma cronologia de encontros, 1964-2005” [doc. no. 1111303].
O crítico inglês Guy Brett, neste artigo, afirma a internacionalidade da arte brasileira contemporânea pensando lado a lado a obra de Mira Schendel e de artistas estrangeiros como Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, Barnett Newman e John Cage, entre outros. Sua crítica é construída a partir de noções filosóficas, como o zen, que funcionam como fio condutor das diversas produções artísticas que invoca para discutir a presença do tema "vazio" na arte das décadas de 1950 e 1960. Segundo registra no ensaio introdutório da coletânea, entende a dicotomia ausência/presença como "um dos grandes paradoxos do vazio", aparente na produção artística brasileira, em especial nas obras de Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, Cildo Meireles, Jac Leirner e Mira Schendel, entre outros. Nos trabalhos de Schendel, esse paradoxo apresenta-se "como uma busca lingüística".
BRETT, Guy. Schendel. In: SALZSTEIN, Sonia. No vazio do mundo - Mira Schendel. São Paulo: Marca d’água, 1996BRETT, Guy. Uma cronologia de encontros, 1964-2005. Em: Brasil Experimental: arte / vida, proposições e paradoxos. Rio de Janeiro, Contra Capa, 2005.
m- Internacionalidade da arte brasileira
m- Internacionalização da cultura. Artista cidadão do mundo.