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This manifesto stated that figuration had run its course and exhausted its historic function, and claimed that there was therefore no longer any continuity between past and present. Those who signed the document thus repudiated any type of figurative art, as well as any kind of individual or symbolic expression. In addition to voicing their opposition to the social and/or nationalist figurative avant-garde (which were the dominant movements in Brazil until the postwar period), the São Paulo group led by Waldemar Cordeiro defined the difference between constructive trends and informalist abstract art. The manifesto identified the group’s new approaches in light of the renewal of essential values in the visual arts: “space-time, movement, and matter.” The manifesto went on to say that “artistic intuition,” when correctly channeled according to clear and objective principles, would extend the range of practical applications of art. This was considered a “means of deducing knowledge from concepts” and implied a far superior perspective compared to the common view, since [the concrete] art—to which they aspired—relied on prior knowledge.
O manifesto afirma que o figurativismo esgotou sua tarefa histórica e que, portanto, não há mais continuidade entre a arte do presente e a do passado. Os signatários repudiam todo e qualquer tipo de figuração, bem como manifestações de expressão individual ou simbólica. Além de contrários ao modernismo figurativo de temática social e nacional que havia predominado no Brasil até o pós-guerra, o grupo propõe a diferenciação entre as tendências construtivas e a arte abstrata informal. As novas experiências artísticas são identificadas com a renovação de valores essenciais das artes visuais como “espaço-tempo, movimento, e matéria”. Segundo o manifesto, a intuição artística conduzida por princípios claros e objetivos amplia as possibilidades de aplicação prática da arte. Considera a arte como um meio de conhecimento dedutível de conceitos e que seu julgamento está acima da opinião, pois depende de um conhecimento prévio.
Though the manifesto was signed by all members of the ruptura group, there is no doubt at all that it was written by Waldemar Cordeiro, the group’s theoretician. In fact, the arguments presented and certain phrases in the document are identical to those expressed in some of the articles and essays Cordeiro published in the São Paulo press at the time. The manifiesto ruptura (all lower case letters) [rupture manifesto] was distributed to members of the public during the group’s opening exhibition at the Museu de Arte Moderna in the city of São Paulo on December, 1952. This document was the first published acknowledgement of the debate between figuration and abstraction that simmered in both São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro during the 1940s, a step that helped to drive a wedge between supporters of abstract expressionism and those who favored concrete art. In spite of the dense and condensed nature of the text, the manifesto also hints at how art might be used in practical applications. There was an immediate backlash from conservative critics (led by Sérgio Milliet and published on December 13, 1952, in O Estado de S. Paulo) who felt that their interests were being threatened [see doc. no. 1085337]. On the other hand, one of the defining characteristics of the Brazilian concrete art movement—especially the version that initially evolved in São Paulo—was its identification with the “developmental ideology” that was driving Brazil’s industrial growth during the postwar period. Most of the artists in the ruptura group made their living in the fields of graphic arts, industrial and landscape design, illustration, and advertising. To view the manuscript of the ruptura manifesto, see [doc. no. 1232213].
It should be noted that the São Paulo group was very cosmopolitan since, with the exception of Geraldo de Barros and Luiz Sacilotto (both of whom were born in the state of São Paulo), all the original members were immigrants. The rest of the signatories to the manifesto were from Europe: Lothar Charoux (Austria), Kasmer Féjer (Hungary), Leopold Haar (Holland), Anatol Wladyslaw (Poland), and Cordeiro (who was born in Rome, Italy, though his father was Brazilian). Ever since his arrival in Brazil in the late 1940s, when he was twenty years old, the combative painter, designer, landscape artist, and art critic Waldemar Cordeiro (1925–73) published articles in newspapers and magazines in São Paulo, where he lived, and eventually became the leader of the concrete art movement and the spokesman for the ruptura group.
The group’s decision to use a lower case letter in the movement’s name was not gratuitous, but was based on specific design criteria. One of the members, for example, was Geraldo de Barros, whose poster for the Fourth Centenary of the City of São Paulo (1954) won first prize two years after the group was founded. The goal of the design was to achieve a measure of symmetry in the name; the ‘t’ was to function as an axis or mirror; the upper part of the ‘p’ was intended as a reflection of the ‘a’. To the left and right of the ‘t’ the groups of letters ‘rup’ and ‘ura’ created an unmistakable visual vibration.
Embora seja assinado por todos os integrantes do Grupo Ruptura, o manifesto foi provavelmente redigido por Waldemar Cordeiro, pois o tipo de argumentação e algumas frases do documento coincidem com fragmentos de seus textos publicados na imprensa paulistana na época. O Manifesto Ruptura foi distribuído ao público durante a exposição inaugural do Grupo Ruptura no Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, em dezembro de 1952. Este documento marca o deslocamento do debate entre figurativismo e abstracionismo presente no meio artístico paulista e carioca no final da década de quarenta, para a polarização entre abstracionismo expressivo e arte concreta. Além disso, aponta as possibilidades de aplicação prática da arte. Uma das características do movimento concreto no Brasil, especialmente em São Paulo, foi a identificação com a ideologia desenvolvimentista impulsionada pelo crescimento industrial ocorrido a partir do pós-guerra. Os artistas do Grupo Ruptura atuavam profissionalmente nas áreas de artes gráficas, desenho industrial, paisagismo, ilustração e publicidade.
Sobre o assunto, ver:CORDEIRO, W. Sacilotto: poeta da economia moderna. Folha da Manhã, São Paulo, 11 de maio, 1952.CORDEIRO, W. Ainda o abstracionismo. Revista dos Novíssimos, São Paulo, n.1, jan./fev. 1949.CORDEIRO, W. Ruptura. Correio Paulistano, São Paulo, 11 jan. 1953.MILLIET, S. Duas exposições. O Estado de São Paulo, 13 dez. 1952
g- Arte concreta
g- Grupos e manifestos