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    This is a promotional poster for the inaugural Exposição nacional de arte concreta: artes visuais [National Exhibition of Concrete Art], held in December of 1956 at the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo and then in January and February of 1957 at the Ministry of Education and Culture in Rio de Janeiro. The exhibition brought together visual artists and poets displaying posters, poems, sculptures, drawings, and other visual works, and also included conferences and lectures on the principles behind Concrete art.

    This document is part of The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.



    According to the poet Décio Pignatari, this exhibition was the first national gathering of avant-garde artists and poets in Brazil. Artists such as Geraldo de Barros (1923-1998), Aluísio Carvão (1920-2001), Lygia Clark (1920-1988), Waldemar Cordeiro (1925-1973), João José da Silva Costa (born 1931), Judith Lauand (born 1922), Maurício Nogueira Lima (1930-1999), Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980), Luiz Sacilotto (1924-2003), Alfredo Volpi (1896-1988), Alexandre Wollner (born 1928), Lothar Charoux (1912-1987), Amilcar de Castro (1920-2002), and Ivan Serpa (1923-1973) exhibited some of their works. Also, besides Pignatari, the poets Haroldo and Augusto de Campos, Ferreira Gullar, and Ronaldo Azeredo participated in the events.

    The National Exhibition of Concrete Art provided a national forum for the Concretist tendencies influenced by de Stijl movement (1917–31). It brought together the works of Brazilian Concretists, and also highlighted the differences between groups and tendencies. For example, the São Paulo group concentrated on the form, while the Rio de Janeiro group placed great emphasis on intuition in artistic expression. The National Exhibition of Concrete Art thus marked the start of the Neo-Concretist rupture, which culminated in the Manifesto of 1959, signed by Amilcar de Castro, Ferreira Gullar, Franz Weissmann (1911-2005), Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape (1927-2004), Reynaldo Jardim (1926-2011), and Theon Spanudis (1915-1986). Against the Constructivist canons and the rigour of geometrism, the Neo-Concretists argued for experimentation, the return to free expression and subjectivity.