Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Kenneth Kemble mentions the Museo Etnográfico, because of an exhibition of primitive Latin American art at the Wildenstein Gallery. He emphasizes the formalist values of the Araucanian carvings and the ceramics. Moreover, he reviews the Spanish artist Joaquín Vaquero and his anthropomorphized landscapes show, which set him apart from avant-garde art. He mentions Rubén Santantonín’s exhibition as a solid approach to the kinetic effects of form.

Annotations

Kenneth Kemble (Buenos Aires, 1923–1998) was one of the main artists of the Informalist movement in Argentina. Beginning in 1956, he experimented with collages, assemblages, reliefs, and informal and sign painting. Kemble participated in the exhibitions of the Asociación Arte Nuevo [New Art Association], a bastion of abstract trends. In 1959, he was part of the exhibition Movimiento Informal [Informalist Movement] at the Van Riel Gallery. In 1961, Kemble was the driving force behind the exhibition that presented arte destructivo [destructive art]. He practiced art criticism, mainly at the Buenos Aires Herald (a newspaper founded in 1876 for the English community in the capital) between 1960 and 1963. In the following decades, he continued his written reflections with an emphasis on the theory of the creative process.

This document takes part of his series of art critiques published in the Buenos Aires Herald, presenting a solid, interpretive view of Argentinean art of the early 1960s. In his news articles, Kemble was attentive to both the emergence of a new generation of artists as well as vanguardist expressions, Insofar as the informalist trend followers were being consolidated among others. the Instituto Di Tella first shows took place, the Otra Figuración [Another Figuration] and Pop Art appeared, in addition to the emergence of a new type of collector.

This document is a good example of the variety of exhibitions Kemble analyzed in his critiques: how he observed primitive art; what he understood to be vanguard; not leaving out his particular opinion of Santantonín’s work, relating it to the kinetics of form. Rubén Santantonín (1919-1969) had a significant performance during the 1960s, following the breakthrough of the limitations of art language. And along with this, and his own existential experience, he began to refer to his sculptures of suspended objects as cosas [things] and to the viewers as mirones [watchers].

Researcher
Roberto Amigo
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit
Courtesy of the personal archives of Julieta Kemble, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Archivo Kenneth Kemble, Argentina.