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    Synopsis

    This dictionary—a glossary of invented definitions for invented words—was written by the Czech-Argentinean sculptor and poet Gyula Kosice, the leader of the Movimiento de Arte Madí. It could be considered a work of art on its own merits by virtue of appearing in the magazine Arte Madí Universal surrounded by poems, stories, excerpts from scripts of stage plays, musical compositions, and reproductions of drawings, paintings, and sculptures, all produced by Madí artists. The dictionary reflects the movement’s multidisciplinary style and illustrates Kosice’s playful, poetic vision of language, which would infiltrate Argentina’s literature during the next few years.

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    This dictionary—a glossary of invented definitions for invented words—was written by the Czech-Argentinean sculptor and poet Gyula Kosice [Fernando Fallik] (b. Kosice, Slovakia, 1924; d. Buenos Aires, 2016), the leader of the Movimiento de Arte Madí. It should be noted that the word “Madí” is also invented. When Verónica Engler interviewed Kosice for Página 12, a newspaper, on March 15, 2010 he explained that, at that time, most concrete artists were involved with the Socialist Party, and the name “Madí” evolved out of a slogan used by Republican Spaniards: “¡Madrid, Madrid, no pasarán!” [Madrid, Madrid, they shall not enter!].

     

    The “Madí dictionary supplement” was published in the second issue of Arte Madí Universal, the movement’s magazine. Apparently Kosice intended the dictionary to be portable, since he used the title “Diccionario Portátil Madí” in subsequent publications (see Kosice, Gyula. Arte Madi´. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Ediciones de Arte Gaglianone, 1982). In the new version of the dictionary the word “Agua” has replaced the original “A,” probably due to Kosice’s increasing use of water as a medium in his work after the late 1940s.

     

    The dictionary could be considered a work of art in its own right, as noted by Ignacio Quadri in a new issue of the Madí magazine published 52 years after it first appeared (Kosice, Gyula, and Rafael Cippolini, ed. Arte Madí Universal No. 9/10. Buenos Aires: Talleres Trama, 2006). The dictionary was presented in the magazine surrounded by poems, stories such as “La batalla de Inod” [see the ICAA digital archive (doc. no. 1304937)], excerpts from scripts of stage plays, musical compositions like “Preludio” (doc. no. 1297323), and reproductions of drawings, paintings, and sculptures, all produced by Madí artists as in “Escultura Madinemsor” (doc. no. 1297343). This strategy is consistent with the multidisciplinary style favored by the movement, which always sought to integrate the various aspects of art production and transform modern life by means of an aesthetic “continuum,” according to the program outlined in the group’s 1946 “Manifesto” (doc. no. 732008).

     

    Kosice’s dictionary listed invented words and their definitions as in a conventional dictionary, in alphabetical order, with abbreviations to indicate grammatical functions and words and phrases such as “also used to mean.” It was based on Kosice’s playful, poetic vision of language. Members of the Madí movement used a totally unconventional language in the pamphlets and brochures they had been producing ever since the group was founded in 1946. This language was perfectly consistent with the fundamental idea of “invention” that was the cornerstone of Madí art. The dictionary did not presume to replace the Spanish language; rather, it proposed a number of words that, as noted by Yudi Odur in the 9/10 issue of Arte Madí, would generate an “expansive Spanish.” In the same issue of the magazine, Professor H. Herzo explained that the dictionary contributed a working hypothesis about the future of interaction among other practices and that the Madí language was very different from synthetic languages such as Esperanto and utopian languages such as Neocrol and Xul Solar’s Panlingua. According to Herzo, the Madí language did not seek to inform but to transmit and, in that sense, was a language “in the style of Mallarmé.” The professor also thought that this language could be considered a “language of the future.” Kosice’s poetic, playful vision of language infiltrated Argentina’s literature during the next few years.