Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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    In this essay, Luiz Antônio de Figueiredo traces parallel developments in Concrete art and poetry, which, in the 1950s, both “began to tread the paths of non-figuration as it delved deeper into the specificity of its materials.” Concrete poetry, like the art movement, launched in December 1956 at the Museu de Arte Moderna São Paulo’s Exposição Nacional de Arte Concreta. It shared similar principles of abstraction as an exploration of medium—“reinforcing language as a medium.” Figueiredo analyzes the semiotic underpinnings of Concrete poetry, which deconstructed text as a conveyer of linear, successive meanings and sought a “collage” of simultaneous meanings that emerge through graphic distribution of text on the page. He cites the early influence of Stéphane Mallarmé’s poem Un Coup de Dés Jamais N'Abolira Le Hasard and discusses the works of major Brazilian Concretists, including Edgard Braga, Haroldo and Augusto de Campos, Décio Pignatari, Ronaldo Azeredo, and José Lino Grünewald. The open-endedness of Concrete poetry, he concludes, ensures “inclusion by in(con)clusion.”

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    The poet Luiz Antônio de Figueiredo was born in Presidente Alves, a small town in São Paulo. While studying literature in nearby Marília, he met the writers Décio Pignatari and Osman Lins. His interest in avant-garde literature led him to São Paulo in the 1960s, where he studied Concrete Poetry at the Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo. In the 1980s, Figueiredo turned from poetry to prose, translating works by Jorge Luis Borges and Edgar Allan Poe. The author of several poetry anthologies and the book Dublagem (1986), Figueiredo published Poemas do Tempo in 1995. This text appears in the catalogue Projeto Construtivo Brasileiro na Arte, which accompanied an exhibition organized in São Paulo by Aracy Amaral (b. 1930) and by Lygia Pape (1927–2004). It had a great impact in Brazil, and it led to a new reading of the meaning of the rationalist movements in the nation’s art. In 1977, the show was presented at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, and later at the MAM-RJ (Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro). The document reproduces two works of Concrete poetry: Alea I by Haroldo de Campos (1962/3) and Luxo-Lixo by Augusto de Campos (1965).

     

    [For more on this exhibition, see the following texts in the ICAA digital archive: by Aracy Amaral “Concretos em São Paulo/Neoconcretos no Rio” (doc. no. 1315176); by Lygia Pape Projeto construtivo brasileiro na arte” (doc. no. 1110680); by Ferreira Gullar “Arte Concreta” (doc. no. 1315020), “Da arte concreta à arte neoconcreta” (doc. no. 1315036), “Arte neoconcreta, uma contribuição brasileira” (doc. no. 1315052), and “Resposta a Cordeiro” (doc. no. 1315118); by Jorge Romero Brest “A arquitetura é a grande arte de nosso tempo—1948: Romero Brest em São Paulo” (doc. no. 1314972); and by Tomás Maldonado “O problema da educação artística depois da Bauhaus” (doc. no. 1315069).

     

    For complementary reading on Concrete poetry, see by Miguel Germano “Esposicao nacional de Arte Concreta” (doc. no. 1305788); by Augusto de Campos, Décio Pignatari and Haroldo de Campos “Plano-pilôto para poesia concreta” (doc. no. 1090135); by Haroldo de Campos “Aguilar: a ‘visão do paraíso’ no olhar aquiline” (doc. no. 1111225); by Roberto Pontual “Semana nacional de poesia de vanguarda: comunicado e conclusões” (doc. no. 1110501); by Eduardo Veras “Haroldo de Campos quer fazer intervenção poética no Torreão” (doc. no. 1111023); and by Ferreira Gullar “Pintura concreta” (doc. no. 1087208)].