This essay was published in Malasartes magazine and was the source of the artist and Professor Carlos Zílio’s doctoral thesis, which was subsequently included in his book entitled A querela do Brasil - A questão da identidade da arte brasileira (1982). In his book, Zílio analyzes the iconography of modernist works by painters such as Tarsila do Amaral, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti and Candido Portinari, particularly those produced between 1922 and 1945, when Brazilian art began (for the first time, according to Zílio) to systematize an honest approach to national culture.
Malasartes (1975–76) was associated with experimental artists in Rio de Janeiro in the 1970s. It was founded by Cildo Meireles (b. 1948), Carlos Vergara (b. 1941), Carlos Zílio (b. 1944), Ronaldo Brito (b. 1949), and Waltércio Caldas (b. 1946).
Zílio re-launched his painting career in Brazil with the exhibition Atensão after being involved for many years with MR-8, the urban guerilla group inspired by the teachings of Che Guevara. Zílio lived in exile in France in the early 1970s. The works he presented at the exhibition were a far cry from the optimistic worldview of the Nova Objetividade Brasileira in 1967, and from Pop Art, which had influenced his work in the 1960s. On his return to Brazil he started painting and teaching again, and published the magazine Gávea.
An interview with Fernando Cocchiarale [see 1110517] refers to Zílio’s re-engagement with art following his exile after being in prison (1970–72) during the period of political repression under the military dictatorship. During his exile in Paris he set about writing the book: A querela de Brasil [The Brazilian Dispute]. The title of the book uses a play on words to allude to Aquarela do Brasil [Brazilian Watercolor], a famous musical composition by Ary Barroso.
Zílio also wrote, together with Ronaldo Brito and others, the irreverent essay “O boom, o pós-boom e o dis-boom” .