Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Luis Felipe Noé makes a distinction between abstract and concrete art. He defines Abstraction as an expressive process that intellectually separates the elements of reality to reach its essence. Concrete art, on the other hand, fixes abstract elements such as geometric figures in space. Nonfigurative art (abstract only in the broadest sense of the term) may be the result of a simple combination of nonfigurative elements, without being either abstract (in a strict sense, related to what is substantial) or concrete. Noé goes on to analyze the work of Hebe Grondona, which he considers nonfigurative. He also offers comments on Sergio de Castro, whose work was on exhibition at the time at the Galería Bonino. To Noé, this work shows the transition in art from Constructivism to Abstraction. 

Annotations

The painter and art critic from Buenos Aires, Luis Felipe Noé (born 1933), began his training under Horacio Butler in the early 1950s, mounting his first exhibition in 1959. In 1961, he participated in a group show at the Galería Peuser along with Ernesto Deira, Rómulo Macció and Jorge de la Vega. After this debut of Otra Figuración [the Another Figuration movement], the group exhibited their work together until 1965 using alo the name Otra Figuración. Noé was also distinctive for his theoretical meditations on art in contemporary society. One of his central tenets was of “caos como estructura” [chaos as structure] of the artwork. His most significant books include Antiestética [Anti-Aesthetics] (Buenos Aires: Editorial Van Riel, 1965) and Una sociedad colonial avanzada [An Advanced Colonial Society] (Buenos Aires: Editorial La Flor, 1971). 

In the late 1950s, there was a major revival of the visual arts in Argentina, and art critics had to update their understanding of art languages. This document is one of a set of art criticisms written by Noé in 1956 and published in the newspaper, El Mundo [The World]. (Published between 1928 and 1967 as the first tabloid in Argentina, this newspaper was especially popular for its comic strips.) Horacio Butler, in whose studio Noé began his training, was a figurative artist active since the 1930s who was linked to the movement called the School of Paris. 
 
The importance of this document is that it addresses a key aspect of 1950s art: the differences between abstract, nonfigurative, and Concrete art. 

Researcher
Roberto Amigo.
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit
Courtesy of the Private Archives of Luis Felipe Noé, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Location
Biblioteca Nacional, Buenos Aires, Argentina