(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
The MAM-Rio presents a collection of artworks by the renowned Brazilian artist Amilcar de Castro, including monumental sculptures in the Museum gardens and other large and small scale works indoors, as well as the artist’s experiments with glass and paintings.
Words by the curator Paulo Sergio Duarte:
We are looking at one of the pinnacles of art in the second half of the 20th century: the work of Amilcar de Castro. The fact that such work came about in a peripheral country like Brazil, with more than half of its population living in rural areas until the 1950s, is one point that art critics and historians in the Northern Hemisphere only now started to investigate. The “Neo-Concrete Manifesto”, written by Brazilian poet and art critic Ferreira Gullar who signs it along with Amilcar de Castro, Franz Weissmann, Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape, Reynaldo Jardim and Theon Spanudis; Gullar’s “Theory of the Non-Object”, and a collection of essays written in the 1950s by Mário Pedrosa positioned their production in terms of theoretical independence and expression of avant-garde in Brazil. The Neo-Concrete Manifesto is a reflection of such a privileged moment that opposes the naïve positivism championed by concrete art and its “objectivism”.
To attain such a level of understanding of art in Brazil – a country going through a nationalization spree during the Vargas administration and, subsequently, Kubitschek’s Goals Plan, when the new capital Brasilia was built – not only it called for daring architecture but also a set of significant works of art, albeit of extremely limited circulation due to feeble interest in forming public art collections. All such rich theoretical and critical reflection was based upon the domestic production of art. The work of Amilcar de Castro is one of the cornerstones of that production. This is why it is no exaggeration to say that is one of the pinnacles of art in the second half of the 20th century.
In hindsight, decades later, looking to Europe, America and Japan, do we realize the significance of Amilcar de Castro’s contribution to the sculptural production of the period, which dominates especially as from the second International Biennial of São Paulo, in 1953. The power of the work of art, its poetic potential, lies in the coherence of the method pursued throughout the course of the art-making process. Very few sculptures are seamless. The method implies taking a rectangular or square area, a circular or irregular four-sided polygon, cutting it up and folding it in to create not only a three-dimensional figure, but a new experience of space. Visitors can see the possibilities of this method ranging from monumental sculptures outside the museum, from large to small, as 140 sculptures that share a common feature of being unique and that at least one of its dimensions is at least 23 cm.
From the 1980s on, the fold-and-cut method is applied to steel and wood blocks, which are then cut up and rearranged to form a new design, rendering a new experience in sculpture. Some of those works were also carried out in marble. To further this experience, we also present glass sculptures rarely seen and magnificent “drawings”, how Amilcar de Castro used to call his paintings on canvas and on paper. We hope you will enjoy the work of Amilcar de Castro and will come back to visit his admirable lesson in art.
Amilcar de Castro retrospective exhibition
On view through the 1st February, 2015
Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro
Av. Infante Dom Henrique, 85.
Parque do Flamengo.
Rio de Janeiro – RJ – Brazil
Tel: (+5521) 2240-4944
Tuesday to Friday: from 12PM to 06PM;
Saturday, Sunday and hollydays: from 12 PM to 07 PM.
Full price – R$8,00
Students over 12 years – R$4,00
Elders over 60 years – R$4,00
MAM Friends – free
Children up to 12 years – free
Family Ticket (only on Sundays) for 5 people or less – R$8,00
More information: www.mamrio.org.br