Marginal disruptions: concrete and Madí art in Argentina, 1940-1955
Pozzi-Harris, Ana Jorgelina, 1972-
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This dissertation analyzes the production of the Concrete and Madí artists, who were active in Argentina in the 1940s and 50s. Concrete and Madí artists proposed, for the first time in this country, the need for an art that was completely different from representational and expressionist art, and they believed that their "inventions," both visual and linguistic, could foster social change. Many aspects of the journal Arturo, published in 1944, and of Concrete and Madí art continue to be a puzzle, such as their relation with past and contemporary artistic and intellectual productions, their relation with the volatile Argentine political climate of the 1940s and 50s, and their ultimate artistic significance. This study interprets the propositions of these artists as responsive to phenomena they experienced in an immediate manner in the time and place in which they lived. The dissertation thus contextualizes Concrete and Madí art in five scenarios: publications by Spanish emigres and Argentine writers which explored the concepts of "automatism" and "invention;" discourses about "Nazism" and "democracy," and about "civilization" and "barbarism" that emerged through literary periodicals of the mid-1940s; political propaganda displayed under the rule of Juan Domingo Perón (1946-1955); the development of modern-looking and functional architecture fostered by Peronist architectural policies; and the artists' dialogues with the ideas of musicians then living in Argentina and Brazil. Ultimately, the dissertation constructs dialogues between specific instances of Argentine cultural and political history of the 1940s and 50s, and a selection of Concrete and Madí works and writings.