Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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  • ICAA Record ID
    808010
    TITLE
    Variações sem tema ou arte da retaguarda
    NOTES

    Publicado posteriormente em:

    ARANTES, Otília (org.); PEDROSA, Mário. Variações sem tema ou arte da retaguarda. São Paulo: Edusp, 1995. p.341-347.

    LANGUAGES
    Portuguese
    TYPE AND GENRE
    Book/pamphlet article – Catalogs
    BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATION
    PEDROSA, Mário. Variações sem tema ou arte da retaguarda. In: I BIENAL Latino-americana de São Paulo. São Paulo: Fundação Bienal, 1978.
    GEOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTORS
Editorial Categories [?]
Synopsis

Pedrosa offers a proposal for future art biennials in Latin America, affirming that the continent’s unity is manifest through the misery of its peoples, in the mixture of cultures, and in oppression. In light of the dynamism of contemporary times, he believes it is necessary to ask the following questions: Where are we going? Who leads this process? What is the force pushing us forward? At the beginning of the 20th century, that force was Revolution (since World War II it is Progress). That era witnessed disgraces and conquests, and the forces at work influenced the aesthetics of the beginning of the 20th century, and helped to create the idea that the world was moving toward a global civilization (which was essential to the idea of modern art). Nevertheless, this idea encountered a crisis; Pop Art decreed a new phase in which art operated in continual motion. In some manner, this movement expressed an alienation from society: with the market, publicity and consumption acting as substitutes. Nonetheless, for Pedrosa, cutting that tie meant that art became “an experimental exercise of liberty,” thus art was left without an objective; it was instead an art of acts, of gestures, of collective actions and not products. In this “exercise” one discovers utopia, where man does not work to survive but rather to learn how to live: the connection is made between work and leisure.

Leia esta sinopse em português
Synopsis

Pedrosa apresenta uma proposta para as futuras bienais de arte da América Latina. Constata que a unidade latino-americana é constituída da miséria de seu povo, de sua mestiçagem e opressão. Diante do fenômeno do dinamismo contemporâneo, Pedrosa considera necessário perguntar para onde se vai? Quem dirige esse processo? Que força é essa que impele sempre adiante? No início do século, essa força era a Revolução. A partir da II Guerra Mundial, é o Progresso. Ele trouxe mazelas e conquistas, influenciou a inteligência estética do início do século XX, ajudou a criar a idéia de que o mundo caminhava em direção a uma civilização mundial que, por sua vez, sustentou a idéia de arte moderna. Porém, Pedrosa afirma que essa idéia entrou em crise. A pop art dá inicio uma fase em que a arte passa a operar em moto perpetuo: já experimentou todas as possibilidades. De certa maneira, nesse movimento, destacou-se do mundo, desenraizou-se da sociedade. O mercado, a publicidade, o consumo a substituíram. Não obstante, para Pedrosa, é nesse desenraizamento, nesse total descolamento, que a arte passa a ser o "exercício experimental da liberdade" - uma produção sem finalidade, sem produtos, mas atos, gestos e ações coletivas - na qual reside a utopia de que os homens aprendam a trabalhar não só para ganhar a vida, mas para aprender a viver, aliando trabalho e lazer.

Revert to English synopsis
Annotations

This is the last speech given by Mário Pedrosa, written after his return to Brazil after years of forced exile: when (1978) he participated in the First Latin American Biennial in São Paulo. When he realized the very low priority placed on art in mass society, Pedrosa revisited (this time in a more incisive manner) the idea of cultural dependency, a concept which had weighed on him for decades, and which he explored in one of his most important essays: “Bienal de cá para lá,” in which he advocated for resistance art (or “rearguard” art), a proposal which develops his critical vision of the transformations that occurred in art during the 20th century. Pedrosa alerts us to art’s potential (which decreases every day) for renewal in advanced capitalist societies; his text argues for the need to return to a position of unyielding resistance, critical reflection, and political action.

 

Mário Pedrosa (1900–81) was an intellectual and politician, and undoubtedly the key theoretician and critic on Brazilian art of the 20th century. He began as an international politics correspondent for the Diário da Noite, and beginning in the 1920s he was affiliated with the PCB (Communist Party of Brazil). He was imprisoned in 1932 because of his political militancy (Trotskyism). During the Estado Novo of Getúlio Vargas, he lived in exile in France and New York, and only returned to Brazil after the Second World War, when he worked for the Correio da Manhã. His stance against Stalinism led him to found the Vanguarda Socialista, a weekly publication. He presented a thesis on aesthetics called “Da natureza afetiva da forma na obra de arte” (1949) at the School of Architecture (Rio) that made use of his philosophical background, and his knowledge of Gestalt psychology; during that time he was also one of the founders of the AICA (1948) and also organized the International Conference of Art Critics (Brasilia, 1959). He wrote an arts column for the Tribuna da Imprensa (1950–54) and was an organizing member of the II and III São Paulo Biennials (1953 and 1955), later becoming director of the MAM-SP (1961–63). He served as secretary for the National Council of Culture during the brief government of Jânio Quadros. During the military dictatorship he took refuge in Chile, where he became director of the Museo de la Solidaridad in Santiago; after the Pinochet coup (1973), he left for Havana, where he served as secretary for the Museo de la Resistencia Salvador Allende. He only returned to Brazil in 1977 (at the beginning of the amnesty) and was the first to sign the manifesto creating the PT (Party of Workers, 1980). His vast library (which included eight thousand volumes) is partially available at the national library in Rio de Janeiro.

 

[As complementary reading, see the following texts by Mário Pedrosa in the ICAA digital archive: “Abstração ou figuração ou realismo?” (doc. no. 1085648); “Arquitetura e crítica de arte” (doc. no. 1086553); “Crise nas artes individuais” (doc. no. 1110406); “Da abstração a auto-expressão” (doc. no. 1085707); “Da lógica na apreciação artística” (doc. no. 1086587); “Debate: o artista e a crítica” (doc. no. 1110951); “Lições do Congresso de Críticos” (doc. no. 1110410); “Paulistas e cariocas” (doc. no. 1085056); “Pintura brasileira e moda internacional” (doc. no. 1126469); and “Problemas da pintura brasileira” (doc. no. 1075171)].

Leia este comentário crítico em português
Annotations

Última conferência de Mário Pedrosa. Texto escrito quando, de volta ao Brasil, Pedrosa participa da I Bienal Latino-americana, em 1978. Ao constatar o pequeno lugar concedido à arte na sociedade de massa, Pedrosa retoma, de maneira ainda mais incisiva, a conclusão de um de seus mais importantes ensaios, "Bienal de cá para lá", em que advoga a causa de uma arte de resistência ou de "retaguarda", como resultado do balanço de sua visão crítica das transformações no campo das artes no século XX. Pedrosa faz um alerta com relação à capacidade cada vez mais reduzida de a arte ter um caráter regenerador na sociedade capitalista avançada, advogando a necessidade do retorno a uma posição de resistência, de reflexão e de ação política.
Ver também:
PEDROSA, Mário. As bienais de cá para lá, 1970
PEDROSA, Mário. Discurso de abertura do Museo de la Solidariedad, 1972

a- Revisão da história da arte a partir de uma perspectiva continental

Revert to English annotations
Researcher
Equipe Brasil: José Augusto Ribeiro, Fernanda Pitta
Team
FAPESP, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Location
Acervo Pessoal Ana Maria Belluzzo