Geraldo de Barros
Maurício Nogueira Lima
RUPTURE AND THE GROUP
abstraction and concrete art, 70 years
On December 9, 1952, a group of seven artists presented an exhibition at the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo
[Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo] (MAM) as the Ruptura [Rupture] group, launching a manifesto with the same
name. Although the exhibit was held for only twelve days, its developments were long-lasting. The impact of abstract art in that context and the watchword of the manifesto sparked heated debates, which echoed throughout the decade of 1950. Over time, Ruptura has become a landmark in the history of modern art in Latin America.
Three of the artists who participated in the inaugural show—Leopold Haar, Kazmer Féjer and Waldemar Cordeiro—were immigrants who laid roots in Brazil in the immediate post-war period, carrying with them not only the traumas of the conflict, but the experience with groups of abstract art that strongly emerged in Europe. As children, Anatol Wladyslaw and Lothar Charoux came from Poland ruptura and the group and Austria respectively, while Geraldo de Barros and Luiz Sacilotto were born in Brazil. The group’s members came from middle and working classes, or faced the challenge of rebuilding their lives. Still, in a country with a slaveholding past, being white and European meant having more favorable conditions for social ascension than most of the Brazilian population.
The group defended abstraction as a project for a transformation that would permeate people’s everyday lives, influencing industry and organizing life at its most different sectors — from visual arts to design, from architecture to the city. They understood that the visual language constructed with simple elements — lines, colors and planes —offered the potential to surpass geographical, social and cultural boundaries, and was capable of sensitizing people from different contexts and origins. Advocating a project for the renovation of art with a broad social impact, they proposed a rupture with figuration and with abstraction typologies that revolved around the artists’ personalities, which they deemed unsuitable for the times they lived.
Looking to the Ruptura group today does not mean adhering to the proposals of its manifesto, but considering the circumstances of its emergence, as well as the many contradictions between the text and what the artists produced at that time. The history rendered here, despite the formal clarity of the works, does not exclude inaccuracies nor misjudgments in the interpretation of an unequal and challenging reality. On the other hand, the group’s commitment and persistence in exploring problems of this order demonstrate its belief in the endless—and therefore libertarian—possibilities of imagining new orderings for the world.
rupture and the group: abstraction and concrete art, 70 years
Curators: Heloisa Espada and Yuri Quevedo
Exhibition period: April 2 (from 1 pm) to July 3, 2022
Location: Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo
Address: Parque Ibirapuera (Av. Pedro Álvares Cabral, s/nº – Gates 1 and 3)
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm (last entry at 5:30 pm)
Phone: (11) 5085-1300
Admission: R$25.00 in full. Free on Sundays. Prior appointment required.