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This article, published in the magazine of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP), highlights the artist Judith Lauand, the subject of the “anthological exhibition” Judith Lauand: Experiências. It begins with a description of a set of drawings—made with paint, ink, gouache, glue, woodcut, tapestry, embroidery and sculpture—chosen to open the exhibition as an expression of the artist’s “experimentalist spirit.” While she is well-known as a concrete artist associated with São Paulo’s Grupo Ruptura, curator Celso Fioravante wanted to emphasize her engagement with other styles after the 1950s, “such as pop and informal abstraction, always with a lot of critical spirit and aesthetic sensibility.” Rather than presenting a retrospective, Fioravante chose to make connections across such diverse styles “in transit between geometric and informal abstractionism.” In her own opinion, Lauand, the only woman invited to join the Grupo Ruptura, incorporates “a little bit of all the concretists, and ‘much more than any of them.’”
Lauand, making a chocolate cake, goes on to discuss the relationship between religion and concretism, the historical role of Max Bill and Josef Albers, her time in Europe and her ignorance of the European avant-gardes, the social and political environment of concretism in Brazil, the meetings and disagreements between the Paulista and Carioca groups, and growing up with nine brothers and sisters. At the age of 89, she continued to paint every day, capturing the afternoon light in her studio.
A pioneer of modernism that is known as the “First Lady of Concretism,” Judith Lauand (1922–94) studied at the Escola de Belas-Artes de Araraquara. She worked as a gallery monitor at the celebrated II Bienal de São Paulo in 1953, and participated in the III Bienal de São Paulo in 1955. In 1955, she also met the members of the Paulista Concrete Group—Waldemar Cordeiro, Luiz Sacilotto, Kazmer Féjer, Lothar Charoux, Hermelindo Fiaminghi, and Mauricio Nogueira Lima—and frequented the group meetings. That year, she was invited by Cordeiro to join the Grupo Ruptura, its only female artist. In 1963, she co-founded, with Fiaminghi and Sacilotto, the Galeria Novas Tendências in São Paulo.
Lauand’s first solo exhibition was in 1954. She participated in the I Exposição Nacional de Arte Concreta in 1956 and in the international retrospective Konkrete Kunst: 50 Jahre Entwicklung (Concrete Art: 50 Years of Development), organized by Max Bill in Zurich in 1960. She was the subject of a focused exhibition, Efemérides: Judith Lauand [see in the ICAA digital archive (doc. no. 1316781)] at the MAC-USP from March-April, 1992. Years later, this exhibition, in the Sala Paulo Figueiredo at the MAM-SP, took place from January 20–March 4, 2011. It was curated by the journalist Celso Fioravante, who has curated several other exhibitions of Lauand’s work.
[For more on Judith Lauand, see in the ICAA digital archive the following articles: “Judith Lauand entre os concretistas ue vao expor na Galeria de Arte das Folhas” (doc. no. 1305101); “Concretistas na Galeria das ‘folhas’ (doc. no. 1232732); and by Jose Geraldo Vieira “Judith Lauand” (doc. no. 1306836). For complementary reading on the Grupo Ruptura, see by Ferreira Gullar “I - O Grupo de São Paulo: I Exposição Nacional de Arte Concreta” (doc. no. 1087166); by Lothar Charoux “Ruptura” (doc. no. 771349), and “Manifesto Ruptura” (doc. no. 1232213); and by Sérgio Milliet “Duas exposições” (doc. no. 1085432).
For more by Celso Fioravante, see “Arte brasileira viaja em busca de mercado” (doc. no. 1111316), “Arco das Rosas: marchand como curador” (doc. no. 1111315), and “Em pauta” (doc. no. 1111296)].