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    La invención de un pasado / Aracy Amaral
    Arquitectura neocolonial: America Latina, Caribe, Estados Unidos / Aracy A. Amaral. --- São Paulo, Brazil : Fondo de Cultura Economica; Fundação Memorial da América Latina, 1994
    p. 11- 16
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Amaral, Aracy Abreu. "La invención de un pasado." In Arquitectura neocolonial: America Latina, Caribe, Estados Unidos, 11- 16. São Paulo, Brazil: Fondo de Cultura Economica; Fundação Memorial da América Latina, 1994.
Editorial Categories [?]

This anthology analyzes and juxtaposes the contradictions and similarities found among architectural styles in the Americas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. There is an attempt to reconstruct a “nonexistent” past by means of the nostalgic manipulation with which the colonizing powers (Spain and Portugal) were evoked. The author, Aracy Amaral, detects something ambiguously true-and-false in the “neocolonial” style, which might be a symptom of a revival—or a survival—of art from the past. What could be considered a quest for a local identity was appropriated by immigrants engaged in digging around in search of new roots that would identify them and therefore endow them with a measure of legitimacy. Amaral also refers to the North American example—that gained exposure through movies produced in the United States—as a referent to be considered by those who yearned to (re)construct a false and “nonexistent” regional imaginary reality that ultimately fostered the creation of imitations throughout Latin America just as people began to take an interest in objects from the past and even in a neo-indigenist movement. In general terms, the text explains how each Latin American country’s desire for cultural independence (a commendable goal in spite of everything) contributed to the development of its own modernist movement.    

Leia esta sinopse em português

Apresenta a publicação da antologia, que propõe analisar a justaposição, o enfrentamento e a similitude da produção arquitetônica realizada na América entre o final do século XIX e início do XX , e que tenta reconstruir um passado inexistente através de uma manipulação nostálgica que evocava os países colonizadores (Espanha e Portugal). Percebe o neocolonial como ambigüamente falso e verdadeiro, que poderia ser sintoma de um revival ou de survival (sobrevivência) de uma arte do passado. O que poderia ser uma busca de identidade local seria apropriado pelos imigrantes na busca de novas raízes de identificação. Aponta o modelo norte-americano, e sua veiculação cenográfica pelo cinema, como a referência para a construção de um imaginário regional inexistente e falso que acaba amparando uma produção de símiles em toda América Latina e um interesse generalizado pelo resgate de objetos do passado, incluindo um neoindigenismo. Caracteriza-se, em suma, por um desejo de independência cultural dos países latino-americanos, que  seria fundamental na construção dos movimentos modernistas locais.

Revert to English synopsis

Aracy A. Amaral (b. 1930) is a historian and art critic who, since 1975, has taken a very keen interest in Latin American art. She took part in the Austin Symposium in Texas and subsequently established relationships with Latin American critics such as Damián C. Bayón (1915–90) from Argentina—the organizer of the event—, the Peruvian Juan Acha (1916–95) who lived in Mexico, and Marta Traba (1923–83), who was from Argentina but who had settled in Colombia.


In several essays and articles by this same author, in which she addresses a range of subjects from the visual arts to architecture, she lays the groundwork for a topic that gained considerable traction during the 1970s; that is, the concept of a sense of identity, both at a national and an Americas-wide level. She developed this theme in articles such as “Modernidade e identidade: as duas Américas Latinas, ou três, fora do tempo” [doc. no. 776159], which covered three decades of art-related material from Brazil and Latin America, including information on history, art criticism, architecture, and urban planning. In another essay published in the same volume—Textos do Trópico de Capricórnio: artigos e ensaios (1980?2005) (São Paulo: Editora 34, 2006)—Amaral probes more deeply into the subject discussed here in “Alteridade e identidade na América Latina,” in which both “otherness” and “identity” reflected alternative facets of the crisis or decline that was apparent in the modernist works that were being produced at that time 


Amaral views the neocolonial style as an example of art that transcends the local parameters of individual countries. Despite the fact that these works have been produced locally, the common features they share, and that Amaral detects, reflect a yearning for an identity that in turn suggests a desire to be involved with every other Latin American country and, ultimately, a Pan-American effort. On this subject, see Amaral’s “Projeto de trabalho: História da arte moderna na América Latina (1780?1990)” [doc. no. 776227]. 


This document undoubtedly reflects the author’s critical perspective as well as her reference to unifying categories based on socio-cultural criteria.   

Leia este comentário crítico em português

Aracy Amaral é historiadora e crítica de arte, e desde 1975 desenvolve um interesse específico sobre a arte latino-americana, tendo participado do Simpósio de Austin, no Texas, e aproximado-se de críticos latino-americanos, como Damian Bayon, Juan Acha e Marta Traba. A autora encontra no estilo neocolonial um exemplo de produção artística que transcende o aspecto local dos países da América Latina. Seus traços comuns, embora forjados, se amparam em uma busca de identidade, e desse modo aspirariam a um vínculo continental possível para um projeto panamericano.


a- Interpretações da produção artística

Revert to English annotations
Marco Andrade
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Courtesy of personal archives of Aracy A. Amaral, São Paulo, Brazil
Biblioteca da Fundação Memorial da América Latina