Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

The letter from [Greek artist] Takis tells Pierre Restany that he has not represented Greece at any international cultural event since Greece’s democracy was suspended. Takis thanks Restany for the invitation and hopes he understands the situation he faces.

Annotations

Starting with its founding in 1951, the São Paulo Biennial set the standard for the circulation and establishment of art in Latin America. Given Brazil’s accession to a dictatorship since the coup d’état on March 31, 1964, different groups of artists decided to boycott the 10th São Paulo Biennial being planned for September 1969.

The organization of the boycott (Non à la biennale) that got started in France, was led by Pierre Restany (1930-2003), a French art critic who vividly supported New Realism. Restany was also a contributor to the magazine Domus of Milan and former director of the [contemporary art museum known as the] Palais de Tokyo in Paris. As an intellectual always interested in contemporary art, Restany wished to form closer ties with Latin American art.

[Vassilakis] Takis (1925-), a native of Greece, used the principles of magnetism to create works that play with the attraction and rejection of magnetic poles. 

This document reports the actions taken to carry out the boycott of the 10th São Paulo Biennial. This source was selected because it is testimony to Takis’s reaction to the political situation of his country under military regime and monarchy. The artist rebuffs any sort of manipulation, and t has particular resonance for persons asked to join a group representing their country while it is under a dictatorial regime.

Researcher
Cristina Rossi
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Archivo Julio Le Parc, París, Francia.