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In the article, Tomás Maldonado discusses the concepts brought forth by Joaquín Torres-García and his followers against the Inventionist group postulates, published in issue number 2 of the Removedor [Thinner] journal. It refers to the following articles: “Nuestro problema de arte en América” [Our Art Problem in America] by Torres-García; “Originalidad e invención” [Originality and Invention] by Sarandy Cabrera, and Torres-García y el arte moderno [Torre-García and Modern Art] by Guido Castillo. Maldonado rejects the idea that non-figurative art corresponds to cold countries and that Piet Mondrian’s theory was the end of art and painting, as stated by Torres-García in his article. He considers Uruguayan Constructivism a typical example of an eclectic combination of bad Cubism, Impressionism, and cheap symbolism (suns, pictographic dolls, small fishes). Likewise, Maldonado notes that Torres-García accepts “painting” (imitative and local) and constructive (universal) art, which, in practice, means naturalist art to win awards and pseudo-modern art “to earn a small place in heaven.” 


The Asociación Arte Concreto — Invención [Concrete Art and Invention Association] publishing venture had two publications: the Arte Concreto [Concrete Art] journal, issued in August of 1946, and Boletín de la Asociación de Arte Concreto — Invención Nº 2 [Bulletin No. 2 of the Concrete Art and Invention Association], which appeared in December of 1946.

The Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención was formed by Edgar Bayley, Antonio Caraduje, Simón Contreras, Manuel Espinosa, Alfredo Hlito, Enio Iommi, Obdulio Landi, Raúl Lozza, Tomás Maldonado, Alberto Molenberg, Primaldo Mónaco, Oscar Núñez, Lidy Prati, Jorge Souza, and Matilde Werbin, with Manuel Espinosa, Raúl Lozza, and Maldonado himself acting as its secretaries. Later on, Juan Mele, Gregorio Vardánega, and Virgilio Villalba joined them.  

Tomás Maldonado is an Argentinean painter, designer, and thinker, born in 1920, who collaborated with the Arturo journal. He was a founding father of the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención and the director of the nueva visión [New Vision] journal. In 1954, he traveled to Germany, where he worked as a professor at the Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm [School of Advanced Studies in Form, in Ulm], created by Max Bill. He is currently living and producing in Italy, having published numerous books.  

Joaquín Torres-García was a Uruguayan artist who lived in Spain beginning in 1891 and who lived in different European cities between 1917 and 1934. He settled for a short time in New York around 1920. After having participated in the group at the Cercle et Carré [Circle and Square] journal, Torres-García laid the foundation for a constructive proposal that he continued to develop in Uruguay upon his arrival in 1934.   

The Removedor [Thinner] journal was the official publication of Taller Torres-García [Torres-García Workshop], which appeared between 1945 and 1953. For his part, Sarandy Cabrera wrote an extensive response to this article by Maldonado, which was published in issue number 16 of the January-February of 1947 edition of the Removedor journal.  

This source has been selected insofar as it allows for the reconstruction of the dispute held by the artists from the Concrete avant-garde, both with Torres-García and with the members of Taller Torres-García such as Guido Castillo, and Sarandy Cabrera.

Cristina Rossi
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Courtesy of Tomás Maldonado, Milan, Italy
Fundación Bartolomé Hidalgo para la Literatura Rioplatense.