In Brazil the popular component, the result of a fusion of races, myths, rites, magic, is deeply felt, and even cutting-edge artistic research takes it into account; it can even emerge in rational and somewhat stripped-down works. The San Paolo Biennale, in the 1987 edition, decided to focus the situation of national modern art in two dominant, apparently contrasting lines. The titles of the two exhibitions were In search of essence and Immaginari singolari, illustrating the abstract-geometric current and the figuration that feeds on the native subsoil. To the first group belongs A. Ianelli (b. 1922), with paintings of transparent colored planes; to the second, artists of a peculiar modernity (emerged from the Semana de Arte Moderna of 1922 in San Paolo), like the painter WD Lee (b. 1931), progenitor of the happening in Brazil (1963), an expression linked in Brazil to magical rituality, even when he wants to touch political and social issues.
According to listofusnewspapers, modernity for Brazilian artists means autochthony. The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris hosted in 1987 a historical exhibition centered on this issue: the “ cannibalism ” practiced by the Brazilians on the European avant-garde languages to express their own real-imaginary, conscious situation since 1922, with the signature of the Anthropophagic Manifesto.
The foreign cultural policy of Brazil in the field of art exhibitions therefore aims more and more to show the national face, both with artists who use international languages in an erudite way – and this is the case of the cuts on paper by AL Piza (n. 1928) and environments with PR Leal’s charter (n. 1946) -, both with others who express themselves in the pure genuineness of their basic culture: two positions that coexist in peace. In general it can be said that the official policy of a targeted support for art and the help of big capitalists through purchases, orders and foundations, has given the desired result: a perceptible Brazilian artistic physiognomy.
The orientation of the artists to the indigenous life led, from the seventies onwards, to a progressive emancipation of the province from the hegemonic axis of San Paolo-Rio de Janeiro. In various regions there is a fervent activity: among others, H. Espíndola (b. 1943) in Mato Grosso, and R. Valentim (b. 1922) in Bahia. This autochthonous trend has not led to isolation and xenophobia: the contributions from outside and from foreign artists working on site, considered in all respects to be Brazilian, are incorporated. Strong is the imprint of the Japanese abstractionists. Among these, in addition to the painters already mentioned in App. IV, are to be included T. Ohtake (b. 1913), T. Fukushima (b. 1920), K. Wakabayashi (b. 1931). The Italians D. di Prete (b.1911) and A. Volpi (1896-1988), the Austrian L. Charoux (b.1912), the
The exhibition How are you doing, generation of the 80’s? organized in the Lage Park in Rio de Janeiro in 1984, it presented 121 artists from whom the concerns of the last generations emerge: eclectic subjectivity, which contrasts with the previous neo-concrete rigors and conceptual reflections. The ” wild ” figuration is the path most traveled by young people.
In the field of sculpture, the concrete art that develops since the 1950s has given excellent results. The painted iron minimalism of F. Weissmann (b.1914) and the rusty iron constructions of A. de Castro (b.1920) are significant examples of the neo-concrete generation, which officially began in 1959 with an exhibition in the Museu de Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro. S. Esmeraldo (b. 1929) creates pure volumes and is one of the artists who, from the city of Fortaleza (Cearà), enliven the province.