Brazilian experimental artist Abraham Palatnik is considered a pioneering figure in Kinetic art in Brazil owing to the machines that combine shape and color that he created in the late forties (the most widely known of those works is Aparelho cinecromeatico (1949–51)). This statement, which he wrote in 1977, was published in the catalogue to the exhibition he organized at the Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil (IAB) in 1981.
Born in Natal in the state of Rio Grande do Norte in 1928, Abraham Palatnik studied technical and mechanical subjects with English professors living, as was the artist himself, in what was at the time Palestine. Upon returning to Brazil in 1948, he moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he met critic and theorist Mário Pedrosa who gave the aforementioned “kinechromatic device” its name. Indeed, it was with that work that Palatnik participated in the first São Paulo Biennial (1951), organized at that time by the Museu de Arte Moderna. The work was sent to the museum basement because it did not fit into any of the existing artistic categories. With the help of Pedrosa, Argentinean art critic Jorge Romero Brest managed to find the work; the two critics were instrumental in its winning a special mention from the international jury. In the mid-fifties, Palatnik formed part of the group Frente, directed by Ivan Serpa whose disciples in geometric abstraction included Lygia Clark and the Oiticica brothers (César and Hélio).
For further reading, see Frederico Morais, “Abraham Palatnik: um pioneiro da arte tecnológica” (1110793).