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Synopsis

Review of Geocultura de la Europa de Hoy: Mis entrevistas [Geoculture de l’Europe d’aujourd’hui: Mes entretiens) [The Geoculture of Europe Today: My Interviews], a book by artist Gyula Kosice published on August 9, 1959 in La Prensa newspaper in Buenos Aires. The article, written by Spanish poet and art critic Enrique Azcoaga, relates some of Kosice’s experiences and perceptions as he interviewed twenty-four artists of the European avant-garde. The review also identifies some of the key topics the artist discussed during his conversations with such renowned artists as Luis Aragon, Max Bill, Lucio Fontana, and Denis Rene.

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Gyula Kosice (1924–2016) was a writer, poet, painter, and sculptor who is considered one of the most influential artists of the avant-garde in Latin America. Among other accomplishments, in 1944, Kosice contributed to the launch of Arturo magazine and in that same year he also played a key role in the Arte Concreto-Invención movement in Argentina. In 1946, Kosice, along with other artists, founded the Arte Madí movement [see in the ICAA digital archive “Se reconocerá por Arte Madí...],” by Gyula Kosice (doc. no. 732008)].

In 1957, the French government awarded Kosice a grant that allowed him to travel across a great part of Europe and the United States, where he presented multiple group and solo exhibitions. These travels provided the artist with opportunities to converse with numerous art critics, and delve into the work of artists, writers, and poets of the European avant-garde. Throughout 1959, Kosice wrote about these experiences in the Buenos Aires newspaper La Nación. These articles were later published by Ediciones Losange under the title Geocultura de la Europa de Hoy [The Geoculture of Europe Today].

The book includes the interviews that Gyula Kosice had with important personalities within European intellectual and artistic circles such as Jean Arp (doc. no. 1318752), Max Bill (doc. no. 1316654), André Bloc (doc. no. 1316654), Sonia Delaunay (doc. no. 1316736), Cesar Domela (doc. no. 1316751), Lucio Fontana (doc. no. 1316828), Emile Gilioli (doc. no. 1317009), Auguste Herbin (doc. no. 1316751), Richard Mortensen (doc. no. 1317455), Bruno Munari (doc. no. 1318737), Antoine Pevsner (doc. no. 1318871), Denise Rene (doc. no. 1318905), Nicolas Shoffer (doc. no. 1318905), Michel Seuphor (doc. no. 1318922), and Georges Vantongerloo (doc. no. 1318939). Kosice had also planned to interview Jean Paul Sartre, André Breton, Albert Camus and Pablo Picasso, but these conversations did not take place.

In Geocultura de la Europa de Hoy, Kosice used the interviews to evaluate the state of the arts in the Europe of that era, just as Louis Aragon had done the year before. In 1958, Aragon had published in Les Lettres françaises—of which he was editor—a series of conversations with some of the aforementioned artists under the title “Qu’est-ce que l’avant-garde en 1958?” [What is the avant-garde in 1958?] That same year philosopher and writer Michel Butor (1926–2016) would touch on the same theme in his essay “‘Geographie intelectualle’ du monde,” published in Le Figaro littéraire. These texts, including those by Gyula Kosice, demonstrated the need to re-evaluate the mission of the avant-garde movement in Europe and Latin America, given the rise and incorporation of new art trends, principally within the United States, such as Abstract Expressionism and action painting.

Researcher
Nora Heymann-Nava; ICAA team
Team
International Center for the Arts of the Americas, MFAH, Houston, USA
Credit
Courtesy of the Archive of the Museo Kosice, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Buenos Aires, Argentina