Berni, Antonio. "Actualidad de Leonardo." Revista Propósitos (Buenos Aires), no. 14 (August 1952): 3
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Antonio Berni writes about the continuing relevance of Leonardo’s method, and the deep affinities that exist between the work of Leonardo and contemporary art.
Antonio Berni (1905–81) is one of the most important Argentine artists in the twentieth century. Starting in 1925, he studied in Europe, settling in Paris where he came into contact with the Surrealist avant-garde and communist ideas. Upon returning to Argentina in 1932, he showed his Surrealist works at the Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art]. The following year, he joined the Equipo Polígrafo [Graphic Work Team] founded by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974). That group made the mural, Ejercicio Plástico [Visual Exercise], in Don Torcuato on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. His Nuevo Realismo [New Realism] theory was based on the idea of a transcendent realism by means of politically and socially committed art.In 1944, he started the Taller de Arte Mural [Mural Art Workshop]. In the fifties, he made paintings about rural workers, especially those from Santiago del Estero, a province in northern Argentina. This gave rise to his narrative series of painting-collages on Juanito Laguna. In 1962, he was awarded the Grand Prize for Prints and Drawings at the Venice Biennale. The following year, Berni began working on a print series on Ramona Montiel. Though he continued working in the media of painting, collage, and printmaking, Berni (who was from Rosario, Argentina) also made objects, installations, and happenings in the sixties and seventies while exploring stylistic variations of figurative realism. In this document, Berni examines the genealogy of Nuevo Realismo. To that end, he formulates the notion of “Leonardesque materialism,” which he defines as the pursuit of knowledge of reality and the mutual enrichment of technique and science that takes place in a dialectical and transformative interchange. On this basis, Berni establishes the persistence of Leonardo’s process of improvement and creation in which there is a parallel between the methods of art and science when they are put into practice. This was extremely relevant at a time when outstanding Argentine Concrete artists were embracing the link between art and science.