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    Cultura y reacción / A. B.
    Latitud (Buenos Aires, Argentina). -- No. 4 (may., 1945)
    p. 14
    Journal article – Essays
    Berni, Antonio. "Cultura y reacción." Latitud (Buenos Aires) 1, no. 4 (May 1945): 14.
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Antonio Berni writes about the resilience of fascist attitudes and their attacks on the culture of Humanism. He sounds a cautionary note concerning the political history of Nazism, Falangism, and fascism, reminding his readers that these movements all attacked artists, and musing on the fact that the basic ideas advocated by all three have survived in spite of their defeat in a variety of battles


Antonio Berni was born in Rosario, Provincia de Santa Fe, in 1905 and died in Buenos Aires in 1981. Berni went to Europe in 1925 to study art. He settled in Paris, where he became involved with the Surrealist avant-garde and began exploring the Communist theories that were in vogue at the time. On his return to Argentina, he arranged an exhibition of his Surrealist works at the Asociación Amigos del Arte in 1932. A year later, Berni joined the Equipo Polígrafo (the group founded by [Mexican artist] David Alfaro Siqueiros), which created the mural called Ejercicio Plástico [Plastic Exercise]. His theory of Nuevo Realismo [New Realism], an artistic expression of political and social commitment, evolved out of his vision of transcendent realism. In 1944, Berni founded the Taller de Arte Mural [Mural Art Workshop]. During the 1950s he produced a number of paintings that depicted rural life, set mainly in the northern Argentine province of Santiago del Estero. These were, in fact, the first chapters in his narrative series of collages featuring his character Juanito Laguna. In 1962 he was awarded the grand prize for print and drawing at the Venice Biennale. The following year he began his Ramona Montiel series. During the ‘60s and ‘70s—while continuing to produce paintings, collages, and prints—he created objects, installations, and happenings, and explored stylistic variations in the field of realistic figuration. 

Latitud magazine was published monthly during the first half of 1945. Antonio Berni, who was responsible for the painting and print section, was among those who worked at the magazine, together with [Uruguayan novelist] Enrique Amorim, Leopoldo Hurtado, María Rosa Oliver, Horacio Cóppola, Luis Falcini, and Juan Carlos Paz, among others.  

This essay constitutes Antonio Berni’s defense of the culture of Humanism against fascist philosophy. It contributes to an understanding of the antifascist alliances that were forged among visual artists at the time, which were in fact an extension of the relationships that had been established in the previous decade. This is probably one of Berni’s strongest agenda-driven essays; it reveals his political stance and shows how he reacted to the yoke imposed by the first phase of Peronism (1945-55). 

Roberto Amigo.
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fundación Espigas.