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Antonio Berni writes about his early experiences in art, both in Spain and France, and the formation of his personal approach to Nuevo Realismo [New Realism].
One of the most outstanding creators in 20th century Argentina is undoubtedly the Rosario born Antonio Berni (1905-81). He studied in Europe beginning in 1925, while living in Paris he connected with the surrealist avant-garde as well as with communism. Upon his return to Argentina, he exhibited surrealist works at the Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art] in 1932. The following year Berni joined the Equipo Polígrafo [Polygraphic Team] (organized by David Alfaro Siqueiros) that went on to create the mural Ejercicio Plástico [Visual Arts Exercise] at Don Torcuato, in the outskirts of Buenos Aires.. He developed his theory of Nuevo Realismo [New Realism], art with a political and social commitment, which was based on a transcendent realism. In 1944, Berni formed the Taller de Arte Mural [Mural Art Workshop]. During the 1950s, he created paintings of the peasantry, in particular those of the northern province of Santiago del Estero, which gave rise to his Juanito Laguna series of narrative collage paintings. In 1962, the artist won the Grand Prize for Engraving and Drawing at the Venice Biennale. The following year Berni began his Ramona Montiel series. During the 1960s and 1970s—at the same time that he was continuing to produce paintings, collages and engravings—he created objects, installations and happenings; he also explored different stylistic variations of realist figuration.This document is important to the understanding of Berni’s early approach to realism in Spanish painting during his stay in Spain in 1925, as well as how the artists of his generation interpreted modernity in the arts, by defining a trajectory until achieving its own aesthetic.