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In this essay, Hernández Rosselot claims that reality competes with art in Antonio Berni’s work. He writes about the materials Berni uses and reviews the collages in the Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel series. Rosselot goes on to compare Berni’s work to advertising posters.
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. This essay not only provides an original perspective on Antonio Berni’s collages in the Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel series; it also mentions a similarity between his show at the Galería Imagen and exhibitions of advertising posters. The writer discusses the relationship between truth, reality, and art?in Berni’s work and in posters created by advertising artists?emphasizing the use of materials and techniques, and suggests that Berni has taken the visual arts "to the limit." Hernández Rosselot’s comments are interesting, especially considering the fact that, ever since 1974, Berni has publicly spoken out against the market and consumer society.