Geometric Abstraction: The early beginnings in Latin America
Posted on June - 29 - 2016
Geometric Abstraction as a style has been around for some time now. Since it’s beginning, it has been a way of painting that has endured, and it’s still very much used worldwide nowadays, and although it has varied in its significance and appearance, it still maintains its formalist backdrop. Its tendency to distance itself from figuration makes Geometric Abstraction a very versatile and decorative style. It started with Wassily Kandinsky, Kasimir Malevich’s Suprematism and Piet Mondrian’s Neo-Plasticism and afterwards it was taken quite intensively by American artists in the late 50’s and 60’s in tendencies such as Minimalism, Op Art, hard-edge and Color Field painting, as well as several collectives formed earlier in Latin-America.
Joaquín Torres-García “Arte abstracto a cinco tonos y complementarios” 1943
Photo courtesy of: www.albrightknox.org
It was especially prolific in Latin America with painters coming from a cubist background and taking new concepts from European movements. Different collectives were formed, and they all advocated the formal qualities of the paintings and sculptures that they produced. A significant influenced was offered by the return of Joaquín Torres García to Uruguay in 1934 after his stay in Paris. His “Constructive Universalism” had a strong effect on young and eager South American artists at that time. In Argentina as early as 1946, Grupo MADI was being created in Buenos Aires by the Hungarian-Argentinian Gyula Kosice, and the Uruguayans Carmelo Aden Quin and Rhod Rothfuss. This group aroused from the publication of the single editions of the magazine “Arturo” in 1944. Argentina, like several of other Latin-American countries, was entering a military government, where freedom of expression would be suppressed at the mercy of a totalitarian state. These men sought through a new world where harmony and balance would inspire mankind to achieve greatness and self-sufficiency. During that time another group was also formed in Buenos Aires called “Asociación de Arte Concreto-Invención” and counted among its founders Thomas Maldonado, Raul Lozza, Alfredo Hlito, Lidy Pratti, among others. The groups held private meetings, regular exhibitions, wrote their own Manifestos and published magazines with the same names. They rapidly started to divide by differences but they always maintained a strong geometric tendency. Great names came out of that time, and they helped shaped the way for new experimental artists.
By: Gabriela Martínez
Gyula Kosice. Photo courtesy of: www.udel.edu