Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Antonio Berni analyzes the educational system and technical instruction and discusses the creation of an art academy in Rosario; he relates those general matters to the specific characteristics of Rosario.

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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 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 text—which is complementary to the one published in Cinema Sta—Berni discusses the possibility of opening an art academy in Rosario. In so doing, he explains the idea that cultural development takes place in phases and he examines the nexus between cultural development and the socioeconomic system. Berni’s understanding of these issues clarifies his political stance with regard to the arts. The notion of an embryonic stage of cultural development serves to explain Berni’s insistence on the need to teach artistic language, technical mastery, as well as aesthetics.

Researcher
Roberto Amigo.
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Archivo Berni. Copia en Fundación Espigas (materiales especiales, carpetas Archivo Berni)