Having already revisited the abstract art of Montevideo and Buenos Aires on Part 1 of our Radical Geometry review, we now move on further north to Brazil to delve a bit deeper into the works of two collectives which were at the forefront of the Geometric Abstraction movement in São Paulo and Rio De Janeiro. The movement kicked off in the 1950s, fueled by strong investment in modern art at major cities, which then brought an influx of exhibitions by foreign artists.
Formed in São Paulo and hailed by Italian born Waldemar Cordeiro, Grupo Ruptura saw abstraction as a field of visual experimentation, this meant taking a machine-like approach that was more focused on function and less on the political ideals of their Argentinean and Uruguayan counterparts in the previous decade. Cordeiro drafted fellow painters Lothar Charoux and Luiz Sacilotto and in 1952 launched an iconic exhibition called Ruptura, which signaled the official birth of the Grupo and the release of their manifesto. It was through this manifesto, that the group made clear their intention to adopt a strong sense for typography, graphic design, architecture, and even poetry in their overall body of work. In fact, it was through their allegiance with a group of Concrete poets that they launched the Noigandres journal in 1952, highlighting their intention to actively pursue the evolution and development of modern culture.
Born in 1954 as a response to the more mechanical movement created by Grupo Ruptura was the Rio de Janeiro based Grupo Frente. Formed by artists Franz Weissmann, Hélio Oiticica, Lygia Pape, and Lygia Clark; the group sought to create a more organic approach to abstract art, engaging the viewer as an active participant. Grupo Frente reached new heights in 1959 when their ‘Neo-Concrete’ manifest was published in one of Brazil’s top newspapers, the Jornal Do Brasil. The group also sought to move away from strictly working on gallery pieces by taking the work to public spaces.
On Part 3 of our Radical Geometry round up we’ll be looking at Los Disidentes, a group of pioneering artists from Venezuela who spearheaded the kinetic art movement. For the time being we strongly suggest you visit the exhibition at the RA in London, which is open for viewing until September 28th. Otherwise check the official website for some insightful videos.