MAM São Paulo reviews the historic exhibition of the Ruptura group

'Rupture and the group: abstraction and concrete art, 70 years' opens next Saturday, 2.4, and is curated by Heloisa Espada and Yuri Quevedo

Seventy years later, MAM São Paulo revisits the exhibition that marked the beginning of concrete art in Brazil, held by the Ruptura group at the museum in 1952 — and which lasted just 12 days. Rupture and the group: abstraction and concrete art, 70 years opens on the 2.4th, Saturday, and is curated by Heloisa Espada and Yuri Quevedo. 

Círculos com movimento alternado, 1956, Hermelindo Fiaminghi, coleção MAM São Paulo, Aquisição: Fundo para aquisição de obras para o acervo MAM-SP - Banco Bradesco S.A., 1999; foto: Romulo Fialdini
Circles with alternating movement, 1956, Hermelindo Fiaminghi, MAM São Paulo collection, Acquisition: Fund for the acquisition of works for the MAM-SP collection – Banco Bradesco SA, 1999; photo: Romulo Fialdini

On that occasion, Ruptura released a homonymous manifesto that criticized figuration and, without mentioning abstraction or concrete art, pointed to these languages as being the new thing in art. The members proposed the “renewal of the essential values of visual art” through geometric research, bringing art and industry closer together. 

According to Espada, “Looking at the Ruptura group today does not mean uncritically adhering to the ideas presented in the 1950s, but considering the circumstances of their emergence, as well as the various contradictions between what the artists wrote and what they did. Even so, the visual research of these artists had a libertarian connotation, as it proposed to imagine new ways of organizing the post-war world”. 

Sem título - São Paulo - Brasil, circa 1947, Geraldo de Barros, coleção MAM São Paulo, Patrocínio Petrobrás, 2001; foto: Romulo Fialdini
Untitled – São Paulo – Brazil, circa 1947, Geraldo de Barros, MAM São Paulo collection, Sponsored by Petrobrás, 2001; photo: Romulo Fialdini

Throughout the 1950s, Ruptura participants were: Anatol Wladyslaw, Geraldo de Barros, Hermelindo Fiaminghi, Kazmer Féjer, Leopold Haar, Lothar Charoux, Luiz Sacilotto, Maurício Nogueira Lima and Waldemar Cordeiro, leader and main theoretician. The only woman to participate in the group, Judith Lauand will win an individual at Masp in November this year

The collective defended a non-figurative art. For the members, only colors, lines and shapes were real, as they did not simulate any appearance. They adhered to the repetition and laws of the theory of perception known as Gestalt, creating a sense of movement and visual rhythm in their work.

Sem título, 1955, Anatol Wladyslaw, coleção MAM São Paulo, doação Blanka Wladislaw, 2007; foto: Romulo Fialdini
Untitled, 1955, Anatol Wladyslaw, MAM São Paulo collection, donation Blanka Wladislaw, 2007; photo: Romulo Fialdini

The new exhibition intends to present a critical reinterpretation of the legacy of constructive art in Brazil. First, it resumes the original show through documents and works, including two paintings that were at MAM in 1952 and created in that same year: Optical development of the Archimedes spiral, by Waldemar Cordeiro, and vertical vibrations, by Luiz Sacilotto. 

Afterwards, it discusses the group's production during the 1950s, when some artists left and new names approached the group, such as Judith Lauand. “There is a debate if the Ruptura group existed as such only in the 1952 exhibition, or if it has a longer duration. This doubt is clarified when we read the testimonials of the artists who joined later, and continued to refer to themselves as part of Ruptura. We also noticed the proximity when looking at the works, because there is a coherence of concerns between them and a coincidence of the problems they face”, explains Yuri Quevedo.

Highlight for rarely seen works by Leopold Haar that will be in the exhibition. “Haar is one of the artists who best exemplifies Ruptura's proposal that art should have a practical application in people's lives,” explains Espada. Quevedo adds that “The group defended abstraction as a transformation project, capable of permeating people’s daily lives, influencing industry and organizing life in its most diverse scales: from plastic arts to design, from architecture to the city.” 

In direct dialogue, MAM will host the exhibition until June Samson Flexor: beyond modern, precursor of Brazilian abstraction and master of names such as Anatol Wladyslaw.

Rupture and the group: abstraction and concrete art, 70 years

Date: April 2 to July 3, 2022

Location: MAM Sao Paulo

Address: Parque Ibirapuera (Av. Pedro Álvares Cabral, s/nº – Gates 1 and 3) 

Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (with last entry at 5:30 pm)

Ticket: R$25 (free on Sundays)

Prior appointment by link

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