Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Aldo Paparella writes to Libero Badii saying that one can communicate deeply from absolute silence. Paparella questions himself about the artist’s role, concluding that he should not only make artwork, but also provide answers about what he is doing. He writes about his solitude, about the creative process and his being linked with quite simple things. He comments on the Pope's portrait painted by Raphael. He stresses the cost of living in Italy and the makeup of the family with whom he's staying. In his view, neither the economy nor politics are going well; pointing out that Western civilization is headed towards a false liberalism, the product of a moral situation indicative of a society both at an end and dead. In addition to Ennio Iommi and Alberto Heredia, among others, he sends his regards to Federico Peralta Ramos, who he mentions as a learned man opposed to the useless, contemporary movement of humanity.

Annotations

Libero Badii (Arezzo, Italy, 1916-Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2001) primarily developed sculpture with symbolic meanings. In the 1950s, his work was impacted formally by Pre-Columbian art after a trip through Latin America. He elaborated his concept of "the sinister," both as a form of knowledge and of feeling. He called his studio-workshop Almataller [SoulShop].

Aldo Paparella (Minturno, Italy, 1920-Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1977), soldier in the African campaign in the Second WW, was held prisoner in France. Paparella arrived in Argentina in 1950, becoming an innovator of non-figurative, informalist sculpture. At the end of the 1950s, with the series Sugerencias [Suggestions], he assembles waste materials. The aggressive use of sheet metal turns the piece into something informal, and Paparella begins to think starting with the object, more than from a traditional conception of sculptural language. The idea is developed in his Muebles inútiles [Useless Furniture].In the early-1970s, he makes the Monumentos inútiles [Useless Monuments], his most significant work, out of humble materials.

The correspondence between Aldo Paparella and Libero Badii during the former's stay in his native town in the 1970s is an important body of documents, written in a significant stage of his work. These letters allow us to question the relationship between the new sculptural languages, the European tradition, and the conception of what is Latin American, in addition to pointing out the social networks in which the artists insert themselves. Paparella’s reflections address the redefinition of his already fully developed work (particularly with Monumentos inútiles made beginning in 1971, using cardboard, plaster, and rags), after considering it from his hometown and Mediterranean culture. In this letter, Paparella returns to his main concerns: the artist’s freedom and the market imperative. It’s worth emphasizing the defining role of these ideas on the concept of "inutilidad" [what is useless] as applied to his objects, which can no longer be separated from the comparison between the actual artwork and merchandise. The artist’s public opinions are in accordance with his private comments. 

Researcher
Roberto Amigo
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit
Courtesy of the personal archives of Paparella Family, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Agentina.