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Kemble develops a historical and formalist view of art, both from a Western and Eastern perspective, to arrive at the stylistic evolution present in both the 20th century and in his own work, which he analyzes from inception and through his personal training. Kemble maintains that all preconceived ideas of aesthetics stem from opinions formulated and consolidated during the 19th century. Therefore, while pondering the works from diverse periods and styles, the formal argument is bound to reinforce changes occurred with regard to the artistic gist. What is at play, indeed, is an, unattainable knowledge.
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 is the manuscript prepared for Kemble to lecture at The Society of British Artists in Buenos Aires, on July 15, 1960. The outcome of this presentation was an invitation that turned him into a contributor at the Buenos Aires Herald. In said lecture, Kemble points out ideas with regard to modern art, which he later puts into practice in his critiques on local art (see documents).
This lecture is known by the assigned title. Although the same title appears in the artist’s own annotations, it does not appear in the manuscript.