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In this essay María Amalia García takes a close look at works by four different artists and attempts to contextualize them within the trajectory of Concrete art period and the Second World War. She suggests that “studies of Concrete art developed in Argentina and Brazil have been based on two different criteria.” García proposes that we must look at the earliest research, regarding this field, in order to fully understand the groundwork from which the particular criteria derived. Her essay draws attention the nature of Swiss Concrete Artist Max Bill’s influence on Argentinean and Brazilian artists. It also attempts to “define the kind of interplay that occurred when he came into contact with the South American cultural milieu.”
Writer and art historian María Amalia García tightly focuses on the relation of Max Bill’s influence on the Concrete Art movement in Argentina and Brazil. She establishes four works by four different artists which stand has case studies to his proposed intervention with Concrete art in Latin America. This investigation, she suggests, must begin by taking a looking at a “particular international context and by calling for a critical reflection on artistic historiography.”
In her approach, she provides an overview of the “European art scene and the role of Swiss Concrete art in that context.”
She then references a number of exhibitions, including one which exposed Concrete art to São Paulo in 1951 at the Instituto de Arte Contemporânea. This exhibition showcased Max Bill’s paintings, sculpture, architectural projects, models, posters, graphic art, and industrial designs. From here, she discusses a few more key exhibitions but emphasizes the institutional legitimization of Concrete art in Brazil. With this, came political consequences and political drama. García goes on to explain the exclusion of Argentina from the first São Paulo Biennial in 1951 and its institutional circumstances. She closes with a summation of Concrete art’s problems and affiliations in its final stages.
This essay is crucial in understanding the impact Max Bill made in South America, regarding Concrete art, but also how Brazil and Argentina developed their own concepts of the movement. [See in ICAA digital archive, the texts: “Art and Design: Discovery and Attitude” by Alexandre Wollner (doc. no. 1324618), “Brazilian Concretismo” by Nicolau Sevcenko (doc. no. 1324569) and “Waldemar Cordeiro: From Visible Ideas to the Invisible Work” by Héctor Olea (doc. no. 1324634) regarding the publication Building on a Construct: The Adolpho Leirner Collection of Brazilian Constructive Art]
Born in Buenos Aires, María Amalia García (b. 1975) is an accomplished writer and art historian who specializes in abstract art and has written extensively on abstract art in Argentina and Brazil. She is a researcher in at the Julio E. Payró Institute of Theory and History of Art in the department of Philosophy and Letters (UBA), where she participates in group projects regarding Latin American art. García has authored numerous books including, El arte abstracto (2011) and Tomás Maldonado In Conversation with María Amalia García (2011), as well as essays including but not limited to, “Max Bill on the Map of Argentine-Brazilian Art” (2009) and “Lidy Prati y su instancia diferencial en la unidad del arte concreto” (2009).