Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Aldo Paparella writes to Libero Badii about the negative situation provoked by the social climate in Argentina. Art is a refuge for him, and he is in full agreement with Badii about reaching an absolute expression with a pencil and cardboard. He points out the artifice of sculpture in black and white, as well as indicating what his work process is. He quotes Federico Peralta Ramos and his humor as an antidote for fighting off anxiety. 

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 to 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. This 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 central concern: contemporary society, along with his obsession with the artist's reflection that includes the justification of sculptural practice.

In this letter, Paparella mentions Argentina's political climate, referring to the situation of political violence and the Peronist government crisis after Juan Domingo Perón's death (1974) and the assumption of the presidency by his widow, Isabel Martínez de Perón.

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