Luciana Brito Galeria presents the group show “Ruptura” featuring the artists Geraldo de Barros, Augusto de Campos, Lothar Charoux, Waldemar Cordeiro, Kazmer Féjer, Hermelindo Fiaminghi, Leopoldo Haar, Judith Lauand, Luiz Sacilotto and Anatoz Wladyslaw.
In the early 1950s, the city of São Paulo, in a process of accelerated industrialization and urban growth, found itself in a period of intense cultural excitement, driven mainly by the recent inauguration of two important museums that spotlighted modern art and by the creation of São Paulo International Biennial. The dispute between figuration and abstraction in art was then the topic of heated debates. In this context, a group of young artists came together in defense of abstraction and organized, in December 1952, an exhibition at the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, accompanied by the publication of their manifesto, both under the title of Ruptura [Rupture].
Geraldo de Barros, Waldemar Cordeiro, Luiz Sacilotto, Lothar Charoux, Kazmer Féjer, Leopold Haar and Anatol Wladyslaw signed the manifesto, which affirmed the “renewal of the essential values of visual art (space-time, movement and material)” and presented their lemma: “the work of art does not contain an idea, it is itself an idea.” Setting forth their radically avant-garde position, these artists – who were joined in the following years by others, including Judith Lauand and Hermelindo Fiaminghi – began to develop an aesthetic program of the constructivist lineage, exploring restricted relations of pure colors and rhythms based on alignments, polarities, progressions and displacements, inspired above all by the “internal logic of development and construction,” defined by Max Bill (who had shown in São Paulo and, at that time, was the director of the Hochschule für Gestaltung [Ulm School of Design], in Germany, a descendent of the Bauhaus). Their works do not seek immediate revelation, but rather require the intelligence of our perception in the continuous interplay between the whole and the parts.
Under the denomination of concrete art, the production of these artists was structured on clear theoretic principles and on a practice which maintained the possibility of intervening in everyday social life within their horizon. As can be seen in this exhibition, this was to take place through drawings, paintings, sculptures, objects or photographs, but also through the artist’s involvement in the design of furniture and visual communication as well as in architectural and landscaping designs, engaging in the productive articulation between art and industry, at a moment of optimism in which Brazil was yearning for modernization.
Even though it was never fully achieved, this utopian wager by these artists made history, representing a true qualitative turning point in the production and discussion of art made in the country, giving rise to important developments, including neoconcretism, which renewed the Ruptura movement’s question of how and for whom art is made.
João Bandeiraall images © the gallery and the artist(s)