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Synopsis

Rafael Squirru discusses the term Informalism, analyzing the concept of form in the scholastic, idealist, and Eastern philosophies. Squirru defines art as the sensible manifestation of innermost states of consciousness. He ponders the mystical intuitions of Zen Buddhism as a communion with a higher order in which intellectual contradictions are eliminated. According to Squirru, the problem of art is the transmission of the spiritual attitude through technical means; thus, form will exist surrounding that image. He establishes the nexus between Informalism and Zen poetry: employment of humble materials, inner poetry due to the opacity of elements at play. Squirru makes a distinction between Informalism and Tachisme thus making synthetic comments about the following artists: Alberto Greco, Mario Pucciarelli, Kenneth Kemble, Fernando Maza, Olga López, Luis A. Wells, Enrique Barilari, Towas (Tomás Monteleone), Elena Tarasido, Jorge Martin (appears in the text as Martino), Estela Newbery, and Florencio Méndez-Casariego. 

Annotations

Rafael F. Squirru (Buenos Aires, 1925), Argentinean poet and art critic, studied law in the universities of Buenos Aires and Edinburg. In 1956, he was the founder and first director of the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires. In 1957, he founded "Ediciones del Hombre Nuevo" a publisher's house. Squirru was pivotal in the promotion of the Informalist movement in Argentina, both as an art critic and in his institutional tenure. He occupied many cultural posts in the Argentinean Foreign Office, upon the request of the developmental-ist administation of Arturo Frondizi (1958-1962), thus promoting the works of, among other artists, Antonio Berni. He became the cultural officer of the Organization of American States] (1963-1970). He was also collaborator of the newspaper Clarín [Bugle] until the early-1980s, when he started to publish his art critiques in La Nación [The Nation].  

This is a key document for the Informalist movement dissemination in Argentina, because it focuses on one of his interpretations: say, its association with Eastern spiritualism, particularly Zen mysticism. The Informalist movement had a strong impact on the late-1950s artistic milieu, with the works of Alberto Greco, Enrique Barilari, Kenneth Kemble, and Luis Alberto Wells, among others. This article was reproduced in the catalogue of the Movimiento Informalista show, which took place at the Sivori Museum, Buenos Aires, November 1959, with modifications in the text and the artists' checklist. (document no. 741906) A comparison between both publications of the document lets us inquire about the selection made by the movement itself for the relevant expositions. In the Clarín [Bugle] journal and the exhibition of the Sivori Museum, the critics included Kemble, Greco, Barilari, Wells, Mario Pucciarelli, Fernando Maza, Olga López, and Towas. In Clarín only, the following are also mentioned: Elena Tarasido, Jorge Martin, Estela Newbery, and Florencio Méndez-Casariego; they are excluded from the exposition in the Sivori Museum. The show made up of those who had exhibited jointly in the Galería Van Riel in July 1959, in addition to photographer Jorge Roiger, thus consolidating the Informalist movement group.

 

Another relevant aspect of the comparison between both texts is the change in the use of poetic metaphor in order to define the artists in the newspaper Clarín, on one side, and on the other, formally proposing a brief reading during the vernissage at Sivori Museum.

Researcher
Roberto Amigo
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Archivo Kenneth Kemble, Argentina.