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    Synopsis

    This essay, written by Juan Eduardo Cirlot, describes Madí’s interest in essentialism. Cirlot explains that Madí is a non-figurative art movement that avoids the use of subjective, expressionist, or symbolic elements and seeks to unify disciplines and principles to create a new kind of art. He also argues that to the Grupo Madí, the essential is that which perpetuates and can manifest in various ways, allowing their artwork to liberate the being.

    Annotations

    In 1946, Czech-born artist, poet, and writer Gyula Kosice [originally Fernando Fallik] (Kosice, Slovakia, 1924–Buenos Aires, 2016) founded the Madí Art Movement in Argentina and conceived the journal Arte Madí Universal. Alongside other artists, Kosice edited the journal and oversaw the publication of issues no. 0 to 7/8 (1947–1954) as well as no. 9/10 (2006).
    Arte Madí Universal was a collaborative production, featuring works by multidisciplinary artists such as Martín Blaszko (1920–2011), Rhod Rothfuss [originally Carlos María Rothfuss] (1920–69), Carmelo Arden Quin (1913–2010), and Diyi Laañ (1927–2007). According to the manifesto of the Grupo Madí [see ICAA digital archive: [“Se reconocerá por Arte Madí...”] by Kosice et al. (doc. no. 732008)], artists of the movement created purely non-figurative works, meant to explicitly oppose conventional understandings of art. Most importantly, the Madí movement sought to expand these nontraditional ideas to other disciplines as well, such as dance, music, literature, and even architecture.
    As opposed to previous issues of Arte Madí Universal, issue no. 7/8 was published in 1954, two years after issue no. 6, and does not begin with an editor’s note. Instead, it features an essay written by Spanish poet and art critic Juan Eduardo Cirlot (1916–1973). Within the essay, Cirlot builds upon previous editor’s notes, such as “Esencialidad de Madí” (doc. no. 1306869) from issue no. 3 and “Autonomia Vivencial de Madí” (doc. no. 1338441) from issue no. 5, to define Madí and distinguish it from other movements. Notably, Cirlot highlights the movement’s effort to apply non-figurative thinking to various disciplines and pursue, as Cirlot describes it, a Gesamtkunstwerk.

    Given the contents of the essay, it seems as though the choice to begin issue no. 7/8 with an essay by Cirlot rather than an essay by the editor is a strategic move on Kosice’s part. Cirlot’s reputation as a prominent art critic combined with his praise for Madí in the essay legitimizes the movement as a forerunner of the avant-garde. As a result, the Grupo Madí is able to present their ideas as truly influential, setting the tone for the reader’s interpretation of the remainder of the magazine.