Vázquez, María Esther. "El último diálogo." La Nación (Buenos Aires), October 1981.
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María Esther Vázquez interviews artists Antonio Berni and Raúl Soldi who speak of an artist’s commitment to his or her work, the opportunities that they came upon in their early careers, the risks faced by well-established artists, as well as that of contemporary artists, and the value of art criticism.
Antonio Berni (1905–81) is one of the most important Argentine artists in the twentieth century. Starting in 1925, he studied in Europe and settled 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. Berni is considered the most political artist in the history of Argentine art due to his production from the thirties on. Yet, his work on a number of fronts during the Argentine military dictatorship (1976–83), and until the time of his death in 1981, has been little studied. The significance of this interview, the last one that Berni gave, is that it was conducted jointly with artist Raúl Soldi (1905–94). The first issue they discuss is the interrelationship between an artist’s commitment, freedom, and independence. What Berni had to say about these matters bears little kinship to the political situation in Argentina at this time of tremendous political repression or to what Berni himself would have said years earlier.The City Hall of General San Martín, a city in the province of Buenos Aires, organized the exhibition, Homenaje a dos grandes maestros argentinos, Berni y Soldi [Tribute to Two Masters of Argentine Art: Berni and Soldi].