Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

In this article, Sarandy Cabrera comments on the opinions expressed by Tomás Maldonado in his essay, “Torres-García against Modern Art,” published in the magazine [Bulletin of the Concrete Art and Invention Association] in December 1946. Cabrera analyzes Maldonado’s arguments step-by-step, pointing out conceptual errors such as calling a “local tone” a regionalism, and not differentiating between figurative art and the imitative process.

Annotations

Removedor [Thinner] was the official journal of the Torres-García Workshop (TTG); it was written and edited in-house. An item therein stated that: “armed with Removedor and a good spatula, we are prepared to continue painting in the old way until we have laid the groundwork for the arrival of the new one.” The magazine was published twenty-eight times between February 1945 and May 1950, and two special editions appeared in December 1950 and July-August 1953. Guido Castillo was the Editor. Sarandy Cabrera was a Uruguayan writer; he was born in 1923 and died in 2005. He was also a journalist, caricaturist, translator, and co-founder of Uruguayan magazines such as Removedor, Número, and Cuestión. The Concrete Art and Invention Association produced two magazines: Arte Concreto, published in August 1946, and a bulletin, the Boletín de la Asociación de Arte Concreto — Invención nº 2, published in December 1946. The members of the Arte Concreto — Invención Association included 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 secretarial support provided by Manuel Espinosa, Raúl Lozza, and Maldonado himself. They were joined later on by Juan Mele, Gregorio Vardanega, and Virgilio Villalba.

This particular document has been chosen because it shows the support there was for Universalismo Constructivo [Constructive Universalism], understood as a new art that expressed mankind’s bond with the cosmic order through a visual language that blended geometric structure with ancestral symbols of the Americas. This article also refers to the manner in which TTG’s work, and the role of its Uruguayan Director, fueled the aesthetic debates that were taking place in the Río de la Plata region at the time. In this case responding to Tomás Maldonado’s article titled: “Torres-García against Modern Art.” Maldonado was in turn challenging “Nuestro problema de arte en América” [Our Problem with Art in the Americas] by Torres-García, “Originalidad e invención” [Originality and Invention] by Cabrera, and “Torres García y el arte moderno” [Torres-García and Modern Art] byCastillo, all of which appeared in the 14th issue of Removedor magazine.

Researcher
Cristina Rossi.
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Fundación Espigas.