Art International

Friedman, Martin L.

Minneapolis, J. Fitzsimmons, vol. 6, Summer 1962.

fonte: UCLA Library 2009

by Director of the Walker Art Center

  • p. 116

Aloisio Magalhães believes that the Brazilian artist must utilize external influences while continuing to express his native environment. Magalhães pictures have their origin in the tropical countryside of Pernambuco, his native state. He refers to his brilliantly colored paintings as landscapes, subjective interpretations of that area’s luxuriant growth. He intensifies their colour by using a printer’s extender and never uses an opaque white to lighten a tone. Thus the highly glazed, luminous surfaces of his pictures express the violent contrast of light, humidity, and exuberant vegetation of the sugar plantation.

Until recently, Ivan Serpa was considered an exponent of a rigid Brazilian style called “concrete” painting. This movement and its offshoot, “neo-concrete” art, are reminiscent of de Stijl and Bauhaus art in general; Max Bill’s work and philosophy, rooted as it is in these early twentieth century European developments, has surely exerted great influence on certain artists. However, Serpa’s pictures in this exhibition are exactly opposite in spirit and must be considered a repudiation of “concrete” painting. Like finely sliced  tree root sections, their images are complex. The lean surfaces of his canvases are achieved more by staining than brushing, and there is a controlled use of small incidental paint effects in these highly rarefied Works.

The paintings of Danilo di Prete, Camargo, and Serpa have much in common with those of the Spaniards, Louis Feito and Antoni Tapies. There is a yeasty, organic quality evident in their earth-toned surfaces which seem in process of growth and decay. This anti-formalistic Spanish strain made a great impression on young Brazilians at the 1959 Bienal and must be reckoned as one of the most significant contributions to recent art. Di Prete’s pictures are a lighter aspect of this Spanish development. He floats forms raised in high relief across his canvas, and the result is a highly subjective form of nature painting.

The pictures of Frans Krajcberg also relate to this nature group, and his work has been termed “sculpture-painting.” Their rich, convoluted surfaces are built up of painted Japanese paper adhered to a support and modeled in relief. In these perforated, creviced vistas, Krajcberg creates elementary microcosms that suggest volcanic eruptions and constant metamorphoses of terrestrial surfaces. Brazil’s sculpture is not yet as developed as her painting and graphics.

In Bahia, Mario Cravo is in the very midst of the persistent Brazilian Negro tradition and the imposing ruins of Portugal’s colonial epoch. His earliest pieces are rather literal improvisations on these native forms and also show the influence of such international figures as Calder and Lipchitz whose work affected young Brazilians with such force during the ten years of the Bienal.