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The Incomplete Glossary of Sources of Latin American Art

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Paulo Herkenhoff

Texto original em Inglês





ACID. Toxic substance used to produce intense ecstasy  among a certain type of graphic artist, leading to dissociation symptoms (from the ideas of print and art), conserva tive aesthetics and an anesthesia of visual effect. It is broadly used in Latin America. Sometimes the graphic technical  process is described as “kitchen,” a deprecating and discriminatory use of this word that indicates the domestic  place traditionally ascribed to the feminine universe in the  region. (See also SEX, DRUGS and ROCK’N ROLL.)


ADVERSITY. “Da adversidade vivemos” (Hélio Oiticica)  “Of adversity, we live”.


AFRICA. Many Africas were transposed in the diaspora and  created many Latin Americans (See SUGAR), in the past and  contemporarily. The mode of absorption and conflict in  Latin America defined different degrees and types of consciousness, including terminology (See PEARLS). Social  conflict resulted from forms of discrimination—like the pop ular classification by colour degrees between ethnic groups  and within the group of African descendants. Since  Colonial times certain manifestations of art were closed  while others were open to Afro-Brazilians. In Brazilian culture, the sensibility of three people, who would call themselves mulattoes, account for: the best baroque sculpture of  the Americas (Aleijadinho), the most important composer  of the 19th century and musician to the Imperial Chapel  (Father Jose Mauricio, Nunes Garcia) and the major writer  (Machado de Assis). Personal qualities and the challenges  of the social structure are given as factors that led to their  accomplishments. On the other hand, in Latin America the  ethnic differences (see DIFFERENCE and BRASILIDADE)  are not dealt with as simply as in the North American  model where society is divided in equal and separate entities built on the ground of the exploited classes. Therefore,  in Latin America there is a different standard of exchange  and sociability of heritage, whether it is Native, Afro,  Spanish, Portuguese, whatever. The country would not tolerate it if a musician like Caetano Veloso were denigrated  by an accusation such as “white people who think they’re  black” Games Ledbetter). Unless homologation, such assertions would have no social ground. Cuban José Bedia, who  has been initiated in Afro-Cuban rites, and Brazilian Cravo  Neto, who has not, act under another ethical model, with  the identification of the Negroes of Brazil and Cuba, which  allows no space to any thought of “use of the Other'' or  narrowing or distorting the self-representation of the  Other. The Afro-Brazilian cults have created “white” orixas  themselves. The word here is the alliance with the Other,  since artists are seen as individuals operating with collective symbols and not with individualistic appropriations.  Bedia deals with the conflicts and perspectives of the many  encounters in the scene of the Americas. One should note that since the Revolution Cuba, under materialist Marxist  social organization, has witnessed the richest and most  complex art related to the Afro religious heritage.  Following the Lam example, others should be mentioned:  Manuel Mendive, Ana Mendieta, Bedia, Ricardo Brey,  Belkis-Ayon. The photography of Cravo Neto can be like  the construction of the orixas, the image being their apparition. Light and the affective gaze of the photographer constrain spirits which inhabit the ancestral body.


AIRPORTS. In the exchange of art they have replaced ships  in the business of styles and trends. Time has shortened. It  took almost a century of colonization for the setting of the  first painters in Ecuador (Bitti, Alesio and Medoro) and  Mexico (Simon Pereyns). It took some decades for Pozzo’s  ideas on perspective paintings of church roofs to arrive in  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1737), while they had been used in  Portugal since 1710. Impressionism took about twenty  years to arrive in Brazil with Castagneto, whereas  Expressionism took some ten years to be shown by a  Brazilian, Anita Malfatti

in 1917 (See WOMEN). Ships were  faster and safer, boats more frequent, trips were cheaper  and international exchange more intense. Now ideas travel  by airplane and satellite. The speed has changed and when  Latin American art is more known (See SECRET) ideas  might travel both ways in a more balanced traffic.


AMERICA. A plurivocal geographic denomination of a continent, in honor of the navigator Amerigo Vespucci, who  was from Italy, a country which has not been involved with colonization. In the United States, the term has a double meaning: for the nation it stands for their own country  G.e., the United States of America). However this has the  pragmatic meaning of the western continent, when, under  the Monroe Doctrine, the U.S. came to use the Big Stick of  interventionism. In Latin America it is a univocal term  meaning the New World, whereas the Monroe Doctrine  was usually a unilateral application. To leave this clear  some call Latin America ``Nuestra America'' (Our America).  See LATIN AMERICA.


ANARCHISM. In the text “For an Independent,  Revolutionary Art'' (1938), Andre Breton and Diego Rivera  condemned the Soviet, the fascist and the neutral (“Neither  fascist or communist”...) positions regarding art. They  argued for a socialist organization of the productive forces  together with an anarchist regime of freedom for individual  intellectual creation (“Not any authority, not any constric-—  tions, not any trace of ruling”). It is said that for tactical  reasons Trotsky had his signature substituted for Rivera’s in  this text. (See DICTATORSHIP and LIBERTY). The radical  attitude of Frida Kahlo might have been formed in her adolescent years at the National Preparatory School when she  was leader of the anarchist group “Los Cachuchas'' (1923).  Quite often anarchism has served as a preparatory stage to

other engagements with socialism, especially the  Communist Party, which was usually created in each country after the initial expansion of anarchism. In Brazil, the  work of Hélio Oiticica was based on anarchist fundamentals. His grandfather was the major anarchist leader of  Brazil. At the age of fourteen the artist had already read  such authors as Nietzsche and through his career he would  show a growing awareness of the libertarian character of art  (See BANDITS).




ARGENTINIDAD. “It is a mistake”, says Jorge Luis Borges  in referring to the nationalistic demand of local colour in  poetry. To deal problematically with the subject, he brings  the example of the Koran where in spite of the absence of  camels, one would not claim it as not being Arab: “I believe  that we, the Argentineans, could resemble Mahomet, we  could believe in the possibility of being Argentines without abounding in local colour. (...) The nationalists propose to venerate the capacity of the Argentinean spirit, but  they intend to limit the poetical exercise of this spirit to  some poor local themes, as if the Argentineans could speak  only about villages and “estancias'' and not about the universe” (See EVERYTHING RHETORIC). The Venezuelan  critic Rina Carvajal mentions that the Argentinean painter  Guillermo Kuitca is not inspired by an autochthonous  tradition, but comes within the context of an urban environment that seeks an international aesthetic and a contemporary visual language”. Kuitca, dealing with Western cul ture and history, shares Borges’s concept of problematic  Argentinidad beyond the nationalistic fatality and the  national mask.


ASIA. The Nirvana principle was taken from the Oriental  philosophy by Hélio Oiticica in his CRELAZER proposition  Csee TOYS), with the Freudian connotations. In the post war period, Zen became a value in criticism (Mario  Schemberg) or art (e.g. Mira Schendel). In the seventies,  Antonio Dias went to Nepal to work with the lokti fibers  technique of papermaking. He developed a social geometry  that considers the history and technology of the material,  the organization of labour and the inventive results (Artisa  social model to approach critically the organization of society and the place of art and artists). See also CHINA and  JAPAN.


BACON. Francis Bacon produced bacon all over Latin  America. They were artists with a distorted painterly  pathology of art as sliced flesh or meat, sometimes). Bacon  was the leader for Argentinean Sbernini, Brazilian Siron  Franco (1970's), or Venezuelan Alirio Rodriguez.


BANANA. Plant originally from Asia, from the family of the  Musaceae. It was introduced in America in the 16th century- In popular culture it has a very broad set of meanings  Cerotic, depreciative, etc.). Brazilian Modernism was very  dependent on bananas, while 19th century Academicism  CAgohstino José da Motta and Estevao Silva) preferred  watermelons (See WATERMELON). In one of the very few  important paintings that she made in Brazil after returning  from New York, Anita Malfatti presents, in her canvas  Tropical (€c.1917), a basket of fruits from bananas to  pineapple. “It is certainly the first time that the national  theme is focussed within modern art in Brazil'', says  Malfatti’s biographer Marta Rossetti Batista. Right after his  definitive immigration to Brazil (1923), Lasar Segall introduced a joyful impressionistic landscape of a banana plantation with a certain post-cubist special character. In the  “Anthropofagia'' of the late twenties (See CANNIBALISM),  large banana-tree leaves with vegetal bodies dwell in the  anthropophagous native landscape of Tarsila do Amaral  Csince A Negra, 1923). These same leaves will appear in  Livio Abramo’s early anthropophagous period woodblock  prints. In the late sixties, Brazilian Antonio Henrique  Amaral, after his Pop departure, slowly moved to a hyperre alistic amplification of bananas which are being submitted  to painful operations (like being tied up or hung with  string, or cut with forks and knives) as a metaphor for the  dark political times of the prevailing dictatorship of torture  and murder. The negative symbolism of Latin American  countries as “Banana Republics'' Cas a post-Colonial  alliance of local corrupt oligarchies, either civilian or military, with foreign interests and presently with United States  interventionism) finally finds a morbid yet truthful portrait,  in spite of some efforts of modernization in certain societies  of the continent.


BANDITS. In the work of Chilean Eugenio Dittborn, the  images of bandits with their sombreros are taken as shadows. “Because the Chilean thiewes are the projected shadow  of the civic hero with his hat, in a negative way, figuring  the policy of the republican unconscious in its agents' ', says  critic Justo Pastor Mellado (1992). Brazilian Hélio Oiticica  made a box Bólide, “Homage to Cara de Caballo'' (1966) in  honour of this bandit and personal friend. He said this  work reflects a decisive and ethical moment, “an individual  revolt against every social condition. In other words: violence is justified as a means of revolt but never as a means  of oppression”. Oiticica is dealing with a repressive society  that offers no hope to the dispossessed. Other artists in  Brazil like Lygia Pape, Antonio Manuel and Luiz Alphonsus  followed the idea of unlawful marginality as an index of  social disequilibrium. Years before, the writer Clarice  Lispector published her chronicle “Mineirinho” (1964):

Is “Yes, I suppose it is within myself, as one of the representatives of us, where I should search for the reason why it is  ailing the death of a malefactor?”.


BAROQUE. The question is not to assert if, but rather how,  the baroque has been a source for Latin American culture.  Within this how, the question then should be the awareness of meanings and the limits, rather than the common  ground of trite superficiality, formalism and imagery. Alejo  Carpentier said that it was the generation of the forties  CWifredo Lam, Amelia Pelaez, Mariano Rodrigues, Rene  Portocarrero) who made the Cuban rediscovery of the  baroque, of a potential baroquism in the environment from  a stylistic mix into an exuberant vegetation, as in the work  of Pelaez. In this sense, such an analysis could be made for  most, if not for all, Latin American countries. In the prologue of the 1954 edition of The Universal History of  Infamy, Jorge Luis Borges writes, “I would say that the  baroque is that style which deliberately exhausts (what it  wishes to exhaust) its possibilities and that hinders its own  caricature”. Cildo Meireles in “Missao/Missoes, How to  Build Cathedrals'' deals with the baroque period, but not

with the style. He approaches the rhetoric, the ethic and the  strategy of baroque and therefore he questions the formalism of modernist baroque and most of the contemporary  appropriations. The use of undated material dissolves the  historical dating of “Missoes''. It can be either Colonial  Baroque) or contemporary (“Postmodern”...), what we can  now name as exploitation (See OPACITY and CHINA).


BLINDNESS. “You are blind” (1972) is the provocative  inscription on an object by Brazilian Waltercio Caldas.  Instead of dealing with physical vision, the artist dislocates  his work to the self-awareness of perception. Caldas dislo cates the crisis of perception from the erotic touch in the  sculpture, as in a Braille’s standard reading of Brancusi, to  the purely phenomenological approach. In 1989, Jorge Luis  Borges said in a conference about Xul Solar: “I lost the  vision as a spectator of Xul around 1950”. When he was  presented, by Argentinian collector Jorge Helft, with a book  about oriental art he said: “Splendid, many thanks. Even  though blind, I will see it. To be blind is an accident”.


BODY. O corpo é o motor da obra. (The Body is the motor of the work).


BOOKS. “To the foreign blood, the book is aggregated, the  ideal immigrant. (...) Whereas in colonial America Spain  has conserved the monopoly of ideas in spite of the slow  European infiltrations; in republican America, letters and  industry come from all great exporter nations'', said the  Peruvian Francisco Garcia Calderon (1913). The importance of books can be derived from such entries as PHILOSOPHY and WORDS. Yet when certain cultural artifices  are connected with arbitrary ideas, their separation from  life assumes the metaphorical image of the book: “No book

Csee KODAK). Yet bread regains the character of condensed  energy with Barrio in Brazil (1970). He left groups of  loaves, tied with red string in dramatic spots: in landscapes,  ona bench by a road, on a mound by a river, etc. Barrio  worked with the idea of abandonment as a social strategy of  occupation/definition of space. Before, he left bloody packs  (reminiscent of corpses left by murderous police) to provoke tension in curious passersby. (See THIRDWORLDLINESS). Argentinian Marta Minujin made an “Obelisk of  Sweet Bread” (1979) and the “Tower Bread of James Joyce''  (1980). In the latter case, she used 5,000 breads from  Edmond Downes, the bakery mentioned by Joyce in  Dubliners. In the former, Minujin recreates the central monument of Buenos Aires and makes it consumable by the  inhabitants of her city. The deconstructive character is  derived from the politics of material (bread is to be eaten)  which conveys a “demystification, which is at the same time  a rupture with what is enthroned in the public consciousness-—  ness”, says Jorge Glusberg. Still in Argentina, Victor Grippo  dealt with the production of this energy by building a brick  oven, “The Bread Oven” (1972), with the collaboration ofa  peasant, who made the bread and gave it to the public.  Grippo articulates the signs of opposition (natural and artificial, urban and rural, etc.). He calls for the homo faber,  either in alchemy or industry, in his quest for consciousness. In a continent of dualities, of plenty and scarceness,  there is a predominant humanist manner in dealing with  the symbol of bread. In his embroidery piece “The Bread”  C1991), Leonilson has announced the precious quality of  bread as a heart surrounded by words: ruins, temple and  fisher of pearls.


CANNIBALISM. The indigenous cultural pattern of cannibalism has provided Brazilian artists and writers of the 20th  century with a source for a modern theory of cultural  absorption: “Antropofagia'' (= cannibalism). The 1928  “Manifesto Antropofago'' (Cannibalist Manifesto) by poet  Oswald de Andrade, taken from the painting Abaporu  C1928) by Tarsila do Amaral states that only cannibalism unites Brazilians socially, economically and philosophically.  The law of the man-eater indicates an interest in Otherness,  unlike the importation of canned consciousness. In this  stage of Brazilian modernism, it was no longer enough to  update art with the international scene. A national culture  would be open to devour any influence, to digest it for new  meanings and possibilities. The primitivist model is transformed into a barbarian pattern against the oppressive censorship of civilization. Andrade advocates the permanent  transformation of taboo into totem. References to Freud  and Surrealism indicate the precedent he finds in Picabia’s  cannibalism. In Brazil, the “Antropofagia project” has both  historical and Sonic Uupo uy validity. It is a dialectic  method which is far deeper than the superficial postmodern  principle of image quotations.


CARTOGRAPHIES. Artists in Latin America have used maps as a reference to the controversial social reality,  rather than the flag, a conventional and unifying symbol of  a nation, subjected to political manipulation. For Borges the map (Cin “Del rigor de la ciencia”) offered the possibility  of substituting the failure of rational knowledge for the  actuality of adjusting metaphor to reality, whereas Torres Garcia practices the inversion of the map (1936), with the  intention of breaking the mirror (see ESPEJISMO) ina  return to Latin America’s own values . The perpetuation of  Mercator’s topographical conventions and distortions, in a  science developed by the Conquest, are not innocent. The  maps of Anna Bella Geiger register cultural domination  with hegemonies and marginality. The painting of  Guillermo Kuitca draws on many sources, from a Russian  film (Eisenstein), a German dancer (Bausch) or an English  song (The Beatles), overflowing the geographic borders or  any boundary between the realms of artistic languages. The  maps fix no point as they confirm a transiency of meanings  from culture to the fantasmatic. Their function is inverted.  It is no longer a description. Kuitca operates the revelation  of the irreducible fluidity of the space of doubt and quest,  of a world glowingly transitional and challenged by the

awareness of the Otherness. Time is “never finished and is  constantly changing” in the work of Kuitca (Rina Carvajal).  Kuitca then has the opportunity to transform the map, in  the Borges tradition, from the passive possibilities of the  mirror into the crystalline action of the prism.


CARNIVAL. “Le Carnaval de Rio est un cachet tout particulier” wrote Edouard Manet in 1849. “Le carnaval se passe  d'une manière assez drôle; je m’en suis vu comme tout le  monde victime et acteur”. Darius Milhaud arrived in Rio,  where he lived for three years, on a Carnival day. Brazilian popular music would inhabit his future compositions. “The  Carnival in Rio is the religious happening of the race”, said  poeta Oswald de Andrade in his “Manifesto Pau-Brasil”  (1924), his first major set of ideas for a theory of Brazilian culture. It was an aesthetic observation with a popular sense of colour. He observed the operatic character of Rio’s  carnival, in which “Wagner would submerge”. Rio de  Janeiro was the national modernist city for Brazilian artists,  writers and musicians, no matter where they lived. It bore  evidence of the past (baroque architecture) and the ethnic  component in current cultural tradition, provided the tropical setting and the cosmopolitan circulation of ideas, and

was a national symbol as the country’s capital. Lasar Segall,  Tarsila do Amaral, Di Cavalcanti and Oswald Goeldi found  in Rio and nowhere else, the plurivocal city. Setting aside  iconography as a point of departure, Hélio Oiticica took  from the multisensory character of carnival the fundamentals for his art. Leisure and desire, physical structure and  visual language, music and dance, body presence and perception, social marginality and tradition were contributions  to the character of his art. Contemporary recording Industry and communication technology have imposed  changes and challenges to carnival. In Rio de Janeiro, the  visual aspect of carnival has been refined and the operatic  aspect redefined. Consequently, a new kind of visual artist  has appeared: the “carnavalesco”, who defines the plot of a parade and designs the costumes and floats, as conceptual  and plastic metteur-en-scène.


CENSORSHIP. See different forms of censorhip in canni balism, COLONIALISM, EROTICISM, TORTURE and  WOMEN.


CHANGE. “Change is the essential condition of existence”  Lucio Fontana, “Manifiesto Blanco”, Buenos Aires, 1946).


CHE. The revolutionary Che Guevara (1928-1967) was the only Pop symbol created in Latin America, with a world wide circulation as an icon for social utopia (see UTOPIA).  Che Guevara recognized the specificity of culture and its passage through individual and subjective levels. Changing  people into a New Man was necessary for the new culture  of socialism and communism. For Guevara, the sense of cultural change involved the separation of the apparently  natural spiritual reproduction, the existing violent circumstances and the conscious creation of new ways to produce,  to think and to live. Labour, no longer being a commodity,  should become art and game, says Esther Perez. As an icon,  the figure of Che Guewara appears, for example, in the work of Cuban Raul Martinez and Brazilians Claudio Tozzi  and Antonio Manuel. Guevara was reduced by mass media  to one single phrase: “Hay que endurecerse, pero sin perder  la ternura jamás”, which ended as a dissolution of his revolutionary thought. Against reducing Che Guevara to a neutralized iconographic image or a single phrase, Brazilian  Hélio Oiticica reintroduces the idea of energy in “GUE VALUTA” (Guevara Struggle). This is a“parangolé”,  which is a cape neither to be shown nor simply worn, nor  is the body to be taken as a passive support of art. It is  rather an “in-corporation” Swearing and dancing), an  action-structure. The “Parangolés'' dissolves the dissociative idea of art and spectator to let the participant (See  OTHER) emerge as a totality of energy and symbolism. The  Argentinian Léa Lublin presented in 1962 the object “Ver  Claro” (See Clearly - historical myths of fighters for liberty,  with windshield wipers). In Lublin’s piece the Cuban  Revolution is presented within an historical process, which  the narrative character of the work, like a three-dimension-—  al comic, allows. Che is not a myth, but a soldier of liberty.  “See Clearly” alludes to the Marxist concept of ideology as  a super-structural level of reality distortion. The glass, standing as an actual “veil of ideology”, is cleaned like a  regular car windshield, as a metaphor of consciousness. a


CHINA. Throughout the century international trade has provided Brazil with the possibility of Chinese influence in both direct and indirect ways, like in furniture. In colonial  times, the religious orders Especially the Jesuits and  Franciscans) introduced influences such as dragons (Rio de Janeiro) and pagodas (Minas Gerais in baroque sculpture or  paintings). In the 20th century, Guignard organized his  landscapes of mountains, colonial churches and fog in the  manner of the Chinese vertical perspective. Currently,  Adriana Varejao includes in her paintings this visual  Chinese heritage by using fragments of Chinese porcelain  or citations of roll paintings together with the baroque to  reconstruct a critical history. In Cuba, painter Wifredo  Lam, of African-Chinese origin, has produced a visual thesaurus of the orixas in his work. The strong contribution of  Chinese immigration to the formation of Peru, led  Francisco Garcia Calderon to propose (1913) the country  be called Indian-Afro-Chinese-Iberian people, if the “pro genitory races'' were to be indicated.


CIRCULARITY. See TIME and, for cultural geography, see  CONTINENTALISM.


CLASSICISM. In Brazil, the first traces of neoclassicism  arrived in the jungle through the hands of the Italian architect Antonio Giuseppe Landi, who arrived in Belém, in the  Amazon, in 1750. The Academy of Rio de Janeiro spread  neoclassicism with such designs as the architecture of  Grandjean de Montigny. The classic mythology can be  found in Brazil in the paintings of Leon Palliére Ferreira, or  in Chile with sculptor Virginio Arias. The contemporary  approach to the classic art of Argentinian Marta Minujin  deals with a two-way movement: deconstruction (fragmentation, fall, gravity) and reconstruction (like the “Venus of  Cheese”) as a means of disturbing public mythologies.  Brazilian Iole de Freitas, with her sheets of metal, touches  the classical tradition of sculpture, dealing with “draperie”  According to Paulo Venancio), as movement and appearance, or with the structural character of the “robe mouillée”  type According to this author). The continuous interest in  the myth of Icarus has been subverted in Brazil by painter  Katie van Scherpenberg with the use of false perspective  and Waltercio Caldas, with the object “The One Who Does  Not Fly” (1977), where perception floats between the contradictions of the laws of physics and the aerodynamics of  forms. In Brazil, critic Ronaldo Brito has approached the  sculpture of Sergio Camargo by noting its “Aristotelian  tonus”. These artists encounter a classical ideal in their  investigation of perfection and not in search of Socrates’  idea of Beauty. In Latin America, as elsewhere, they do not  take perfection as a canon, but rather cudgel this ideal to its  boundaries. They clarify its (im)possibilities. They are suspicious of the Measure and of all certainty.


COCA COLA. In the sixties and seventies Coca Cola wasa  negative icon of American imperialism in Latin America  and a denial of difference between Latin America and the  U.S. Whereas for Warhol, Coca Cola was a Pop symbol of the American liberal democracy, Latin American artists  used it as a political symbol of imperialism. In Brazil, in  1970, Cildo Meireles printed in Coca Cola bottles, the  motto of the decade “Yankees Go Home'' as a guerrilla  intervention in an ideological circuit and process of production. Brazilian artists like Antonio Manuel dealt with  the accumulation of empty bottles, by substituting urine for  Coca Cola and Anna Bella Geiger situated the bottle in the  landscape with trash. With their work they were dealing  politically with the symbolic transformation of materiality  (see ESCHATOLOGY). In 1992, to commemorate its 50th  anniversary in Brazil, Coca Cola commissioned works,  including artists from the sixties and seventies for what  might have been the first neo-liberal exhibition in Brazil. In  his effective “Crushed Coca Cola Bottle Bottled in  Another Bottle of Coca Cola '', a visual metalinguistic game,  the Uruguayan Luis Camnitzer fills the bottle with the horrifying liquid of crushed glass. Antonio Caro writes the  name of his country (Colombia) in the traditional calligraphy of Coca Cola, white letters in a red field. He blends the  ideas of Coca/Colombia, pointing out the “traffic” of drugs  and sounds: cocaine/Coca Cola in a long history of United  States intervention in his country, such as the forced separation of Panama in 1903 to facilitate the construction of  the Canal (See COCAINE).


COCAINE. A fine white crystalline alkaloid powder obtained from the leaves of Erythroxylon coca, a plant  farmed in some South American regions. For centuries the  Natives from Peru and Bolivia chewed the coca leaves. Cocaine, absorbed by the mucous membrane, has a toxic action on the central nervous system. Among the effects it  produces are anesthesia and disappearance of fatigue,  increased mental power, euphoria and pleasant auditory or visual hallucinations. Addiction may develop and in some cases it has caused death. The cocaine business is a source  of income for broad parts of the population in certain areas.  The money from drug dealing is laundered in many ways,  including through the art market. Some art sociologists and  police reports mention the actual addiction of the art market in countries like Colombia, where the price of certain  artists reaches high, fat, round prices, that would not correspond to their place in the international art world (See  COCA COLA).




COFFEE. “Depois de se haver fartado de ouro, o mundo  teve forma de acticar, mas o açúcar também consumia  escravos. O esgotamento das minas foi precedido, de resto,  pela devastação das florestas que forneciam combustível nas  fornalhas—a Abolição da escravatura, enfim, uma procura  mundial crescente orientou São Paulo e seu porto para o  café. De amarelo, depois branco, o Ouro se torna negro”. So  Claude Lévi-Strauss resumes Brazilian history in Tristes Tropiques (chapter X). It was mostly agricultural capital  from coffee that, in general terms, financed Brazilian modernism in Sao Paulo. As a theme, coffee produced comparatively little art: Portinari, Djanari, Malfatti in her decadence.  The major translation of muralism and social realism was  Portinari’s “Coffee” (1937), first as a canvas and later a decoration on the walls of the building of the Ministry of  Education in Rio, a project that involved Le Corbusier,  Lucio Costa, Oscar Niemeyer and others. Contemporarily,  Oiticica projected the symbolism of coffee to a perceptual  game of the senses in “Bolide Saco 2 Olfatico'', where gaze is  oriented by smell (see ODOUR).


COLONIALISM. “Art is no longer an instrument of intellectual domination”, said Hélio Oiticica (1967). It is up to  the artist to overcome postcolonialist aesthetics, in spite of  the remnants of colonialism in the international circulation  of art. Both the exclusion from history and an interpretation  that includes references only to European sources are forms  of colonialist censorship.


COLOUR. The undeniable alignment of Latin American  artists with the Western history of colour could lead to such  clear relationships as Soto or Oiticica with Malevich or  Mondrian. Within this tradition (sometimes touching the  question of the monochrome) we may still quote the con cretist, constructive or optical choices of colour in Cruz Diez (Venezuela), Negret (Colombia), Weissmann and  Carvao (Brazil), among others. A picturesque colour may  descriptively derive from reality as in the Mexican painter  Rivera or the Colombian sculptor Botero. It can be emblematic, within national conventions and codes of tradition, like  the orixas’ heraldic colours in Cuba or Brazil. Archeological  colour rules the earthy palette of Brazilian Rego Monteiro,  with reference to Amazonian Marajo6 civilization, whereas  Andean artists Szyszlo (Peru) and Viteri (Ecuador) articulate historical colour from the fabrics, dolls and other  sources in material culture and spiritual symbolism of the  Incas and other groups. In Brazil, the purification of the colour system derived from popular culture established an  anthropological dimension. It starts with the landscapes of

the Pau-Brasil period (1924), by Tarsila do Amaral, through  the reductive and constructive colour architecture of  Alfredo Volpi (1950/1970’s) and the sensory experience of  colour as space and materiality in Oiticica (1960's). The  harmonious colour compositions of a native naiveté by  Tarsila do Amaral and Volpi synthesize a certain rural taste.  In other areas, contemporary colour sensibility might call  for more bright and strident combinations, as vigorous  efforts to guarantee extreme visibility, like the recent work  of Delson Uchoa in the Northeast, and Emmanuel Nassar in  Amazonia. A crisis of colour finds a moral severity in the  almost black and white portraits of Mexican Siqueiros, such  as The Proletarian Mother (1930) and Ethnography (1939).  Here the extreme scarcity of light and colour induces a

political judgment. Ethical severity also impels the wood block prints of Brazilian Goeldi. The anguished light is  the presentation of a moral night, melancholic in the  urban drama of Rio de Janeiro and naturalistic, yet mythical, in the Amazonian scenario. The painful extreme of  tropical light is approached by the opposition of the  somber Goeldi to the solar Reveron in a complementary  dimension like day and night. The antinomy of  light/colour in Reveron’s paintings lays in the scarceness  of pictorial matter. The Venezuelan brings the excess of  light as an approach to blindness. The experience of visual bewilderment leads the gaze to the possibility of its  own nullification.


COMMUNICATION. In the sixties, two major aspects of  the theory of communication were influential to Latin  American artists. Roland Barthes, with his contribution  of the application of Structuralism to semiology, avoided  the aridity of this field. In the studies of communication  the influence of Marshall McLuhan also extended to  Latin America. The expansion of television in countries  like Brazil clashes with rural culture, meets economic  marginality and is confronted with underdevelopment  (See T.V.). In the sixties, some artists looked towards the  traditional “literatura de cordel”, small leaflets illustrated  with woodblock prints, that commented on everyday life  and conveyed popular mythologies. Brazilian Samico  took the graphic model and developed highly constructed images with heraldic and mythic characters. Anna  Maria Maiolino used the graphic structure to convey discussions about the feminine condition and the situation  of women. Antonio Henrique Amaral referred to the  communicative character of the cordel, as a traditional  medium to disseminate news and to produce bitter  images criticizing military rule. In São Paulo, the studies  of semiology in the University were the scholarly counterpart to concrete poetry. Later they were a conceptual background for the work of such artists as Julio Plaza and  Regina Silveira, as an illustrative dialogue between theory  and action. In Argentina, the problem of communication  dealt directly with the role of the artist. The CAYC group  Centro de Arte y Comunicación) held its first exhibition  in 1972, with thirteen artists (Bedel, Benedit, Glusberg,  Grippo, Gonzalez Mir, Marotta, Portillos; later additions  were Maler and Testa). The work involved urbanism, his tory, social anthropology, phenomenology of time and  materials, political consciousness and freedom. In the  context of modern communications, it was understood  that “the artist is the link in a chain which is extended  above the concentric waves of man’s daily life. The powers which he manipulates maintain him in a position in  which he can mold everyday reality (...) through action  and thought and to create and transform social context”  Gorge Glusberg).


COMMUNIST PARTY. The Communist Party had multiple, and sometimes clashing influences on the art of Latin  America (See ZHDANOV for Mexico, and GRAMSCI).  Waldemar Cordeiro, was himself, under the influence of  the Italian Communist Party. The ambiguity of political  works and the pretensions, moves from the involvement  with right-wing populist power (like Niemeyer and  Portinari during the Vargas regime in Brazil, or  Guayasamin in Ecuador) to the bourgeois decorative work  of Carlos Scliar and his action in the sphere of consumption, which in capitalism would be called marketing.


CONSTRUCTIVISM. This term is taken here undera  generic character. The idea of a widespread vontade construtiva (constructive will) can be synthetically demon strated. Upon his return to Uruguay, Joaquin Torres-Garcia  developed a didactic work at the atelier (Asociación de Arte  Constructivo) in Montevideo (1934-40), which was key to  the formation (as “voluntary identification") of the Buenos  Aires groups Concreto-Invencion and Madi in the forties,  whose artists exhibited in Rio de Janeiro (1953), where  they influenced the scene (Ivan Serpa and the future  Neoconcretist group Weissmann, Clark, Carvao, Castro,  Pape and Oiticica, a student of the former).



CRISIS. 1492 sets a dual crisis. A multi-level crisis, from religion to knowledge reached Europe. A Portuguese map  (1519) by Lopo Homem creates a southern territorial link

between America and Africa, as a last effort to revalidate  the Ptolemaic geographic notions. A permanent crisis was  set for the natives of the Americas, from cultural survival to  life itself. After independence, Paraguay underwent geno cide and strangulation from its neighbours. (See DOLOR,  HISTORY and WAR). Brazilian Mario Pedrosa discussed  the “Crisis of the Artistic Conditioning” (1966) due to the  use of alien cultural roots. Pedrosa added that this crisis of  modern art was due to the crisis in the levels of social function and communication (1972) (See POSTMODERN).  Argentinian Jorge Romero Brest wrote La Crisis del Arte en  Latinoamérica y en el Mundo (1974). He discussed the  notions of crisis and development in art and stressed a  dialectic contradiction between the order of human needs  and the order of artistic demands. Besides the many specific  crises that Latin American artists are dealing with, like perception (Waltercio Caldas and Alfred Wenemoser), the  critic Nelly Richard points to a fundamental contemporary  crisis. The Chilean group CADA (Colectivo de Acciones de  Arte - Collective for Art Actions) (Raul Zurita, Diamela  Eltit, Juan Castillo, Lotty Rosenfeld and Fernando Balcells)  in the postulation of a “discourse of the crisis”, “had  learned to mistrust any néw illusion of ‘totalitarian totality’:  may we call it either revolutionary utopia, myth or ideology” CNelly Richard) (See UTOPIA).


DANCE. Iconography aside From Tarsila do Amaral to Di  Cavalcanti), Carnival (See CARNIVAL) leads Oiticica to the  development of “Parangolé ''—structures to be worn and  acted. Under the idea of dance and music, lies the project of art of total perception, of full assumption of the senses  through the anthropological approach. The recent work of  Tole de Freitas is built from the developments of the  INWepo concrete project. There, in the past she worked with  dance. Hier constructive gestures are movements that develop  the sensual presence Of material. This is her point-—of-contact  with the Oiticica experience. Freitas’ work should also be  related to the investigations of the planar dimension in the  work of Lygia Clark, from the two-dimensional picture plane  CSuperficies Moduladas) to real space Casulo, Bichos and  Obra Mole). The transparent constructive precariousness of  her method has no connection with the well-engineered  frontality of Frank Stella’s recent work, nor with his ideas of  painterly image. Stella’s work is engineering and calculation,  whereas Freitas is Open to improvisation and to the surprises  of hazard. Freitas is dealing with time as a flow of both  labour energy and poetical dialogue between body and mate-—  rials, dance and art.


DEATH. A Latin American Museum of Death should first  include the “costumbrista” masterpiece of Francisco Oller  <El Velorio” C1893). This “grande machine” of death is the  wake of a child, in the baquiné tradition of Puerto Rico.  Oller himself described the wake: “The mother is holding  back her grief C...); she does not weep for fear her tears might  wet the wings of this little angel on his flight to heaven. She  laughs and offers a drink to the priest, who with eager eyes  gazes up at the roast pig whose entry is awaited with enthuSiasm. Inside this room of indigenous structure, children  play, dogs romp, lovers embrace and musicians get drunk”.  The Mexican social pathology, like the Day of the Dead  November 2) has been commented on by Octavio Paz: “Our  cult to death is cult to life, the same way as love, which is  hunger for life, is desire of death”. The print by Posada was  engaged in satirical inversion, within the direct popular lan~—  guage of Communication, like The Great Love Pantheon.  Posada has included The Intelligent Engraver, his own profession, within The Artistic Purgatory. For Brazilian Goeldi,  death is desacralized as it is in Posada, but submitted to  silence, Comparable to Munch. Taciturn irony confronts the  student with the social and moral Character of death in the  work of Ensor. The Nietzschean “death of God” has set the  work of Goeldi free from metaphysical afflictions or a  “telos” of history. Yet metaphysics and melancholy are  restored in the drawings of Brazilianm Ismael Nery, including  his own death. The personal “mors certa” burdens an  anguished Frida Kahlo. I'm the self-portrait Without Hope  C1945), she lies covered with a blanket of cells and is fed  from a cornucopia, that provides a bread “calavera” Skull.  With Kahlo, the organic and anthropological, in a foreseen  death, melt as that celebration of life mentioned by Paz. Death in the continent is now beyond the baroque imagery  of passion and martyrdom. The social dimension of death  in genocide circumdates La Paraguaya (c. 1880), as an  island within an island amidst death, in the painting of the  Uruguayan Juan Manuel Blanes. There is a moral rhetoric  in this portrait of history (See HISTORY and WAR).  Reacting to the Malvinas War, Argentinian Guillermo  Kuitca depicts the individual pathos. Intimate recollections  of the intense expression of grief, solitude and longing  rebel in silence before the announced death; the impotence  of the individual confronted by the absurdities of the modern State. Death, in the social struggle of Latin America, has  a monument to ethos in the photograph of Manuel Alwares  Bravo: Striking Worker Murdered (1934). The body is a  fountain generously flowing with the blood of revolt and  belief (See RESISTANCE). The death of the Other, dense  with psychological implications, is in the chilling and powerful series of drawings. My Dying Mother (1947) by  Brazilian Flávio de Carvalho. It is more dramatic than  Kollwitz’s drawing The Death of Barlach (1938), in spite of  its formal comparability. Kollwitz deals with a corpse, the  death consumed. Carvalho’s is a cinematic series of images,  where time still flows in terminal agony in the last gestures  of life. If David’s The Death of Marat (1793), according to  Argan, deals with the passage of the state of being to  Nothingness, Carvalho’s depicts the final pulse of life in the  eve of Nothingness.


DEPARTMENT OF STATE. The United States  Government organ for foreign affairs. According to Aracy  Amaral: “It was not by chance that abstract expressionism  had a world repercussion after the Second World War.  During this period, in the midst of the Cold War, that ten dency was exalted by the painters of the Museum of  Modern Art of New York, the traditional right arm of the  Department of State in the cultural area”.


DICTATORSHIP. Art dictatorships established aesthetic  models as mandatory sources or monopolistic presences  following the very pattern of governmental dictatorships.

Most of the time they produced an alliance between the  Stalinist aesthetics and right wing governments. They end  up as the biggest market phenomena in their countries.  Marta Traba mentions that Torres-Garcia has put  Uruguayan modern art in the prison of this cold and desiccated idealism, with his ferocious civilist discipline (See  CONSTRUCTIVISM). She also says that Guayasamin does  to modern painting in Ecuador what the three great muralists had done to modern Mexican painting: “he imposes ter ror and establishes an aesthetical dictatorship, outside of  which it seemed impossible to survive”. For Shiffra  Goldmann, in the fifties the dense intimate graphic work of  José Luis Cuevas represented a reaction against the public  aesthetics of the muralists.


DIFFERENCE. “Here I leave murdered distance”, says the  Peruvian writer Alberto Hidalgo, “I am urged to declare that  Hispanic-Americanism is repugnant to me. This is something  false, utopic and mendacious (...) Besides, there is not even a similitude of characters between the Hispanic American  countries. (...) The abyss that can be glimpsed between an  Argentinean and a Colombian is incommensurable. That all  are Spanish descendants, this is the least. The conquerors  have imposed the idiom but not the spirit. The predominant ing influence is the land, the haphazard of the tribe with  which the crossing was produced. (...) The immigrant from  Russia, Italy, Germany, etc. is making or has made the truth ful independence. Within a few years there will be more  American children of Russian or Italian descent than the  children of Spanish (...)” (1926). Latin America is different.  It is an internal difference (countries, regions, groups, individuals) and an external difference. Latin America remains  for the West as a reserve of difference——exotic and at the  same time “fantasmatic”. Yet, Latin America makes no  promise of either staying or even being “Latin American”. A  “Latin American” art of Latin America (“the essentially Latin  American issues which it raises”, as proposed by Oriana  Baddeley and Valerie Fraser) is either a European “fantas matic” construction or Latin American control (See IDEOLOGICAL PATROLLING). However, Latin American art  does not confirm this European notion of history, of the  “realization of civilization”, which is now Latin America’s,  and no longer the modern European man (for this thought  I’m indebted to Gianni Vattimo). The search for a single  Latin America history can lead to fixed anthropological idealizations and also to the obtuseness of exploitation, internal  colonialism and class conflicts, ignoring the variety of historical times (see TIME ) and cultural perspectives(See EVERYTHING).

DISORDER. The source of disorder in Brazil could be found  in an initial reference to the flag, with its motto “Order and  Progress”. A parallel historical line could be traced with  Flávio de Carvalho, Hélio Oiticica and Tunga, representing  three different generations. Flavio de Carvalho disrupted the  social codes with two performances: a) wearing a hatina  procession (1931) and b) wearing a costume for tropical  weather, which included a skirt (1956). He provoked both  the religious ideological set of values and the masculine role,  thus inflicting disorder in two main codes of social stability.  Hélio Oiticica defined a level of metaphor between values  from the art system and challenges to a social order that  reflected an authoritarian regime. He dealt with a concept of  “cultural diarrhea”. Favelados and samba school dancers  were brought inside the Museum of Modern Art in Rio  (1965) as a rupture to the spatial feud of art. In his Bolide  Homenagem a Cara-de-Cavalo (1967) a transparent pillow of  a vivid pure red pigment becomes a metaphor for the flesh of  the bandit as “live mud”, as writer Clarice Lispector named it, for another bandit. (See BANDITS).Contemporarily,  Tunga takes art as a model in crisis. His violent poetics is  “outside of the formalist model”, dealing with an “inquié tante étrangéte”. Things play “between the real and the  irreal, the conscious and the unconscious, the rational and  the irrational” (The author is indebted to Catherine David  in the development of this entry).

DELODUR. Pain and grief are a root of Latin America since  the first rape and murder of the Conquest. The Baroque  rhetoric disseminated the edifying example of martyrdom  through a hagiography of sorrow and suffering. From early  colonization there were signs that this pathological social  system was rejected by the Native, such as the Andean  Guaman Poma de Ayala (See KNOWLEDGE). No social  pain has fallen on any nation of Latin America as much as  during the Paraguay War (1865-1870): the population of  this country was reduced from 800,000 to 194,000, of  which only 14,000 were male, and of those 2,100 were  older than 20 years (according to Chiavenatto) (See WAR).  The Uruguayan Juan Manual Blanes painted La Paraguaya  (c.1880), a heraldic portrait of the defeated in history, who  maintained dignity and energy towards the force of life (See  HISTORY). The oeuvre of Frida Kahlo intermingles in  symbolic autobiography the pain of joy for life, in such  paintings as The Two Fridas (1939); abandonment in Self Portrait of Cropped Hair (1940), Henry Ford Hospital  (1932) and miscarriage; Self-portrait as a Tehuana (1943),  reflecting initiation and death (See MARXISM). In My  Birth (1932) she enthones a painting of Mater Dolorosa.  In 1970 Brazilian Cildo Meireles provocatively used the  actual physical pain of living beings (chickens) to give  voice to the silent cry of political prisoners under torture  Csee TORTURE).


DOUBTS. “In art, greater confidence is deserved by the  works on the doubts of art, more than those on the  certitudes of art”, wrote Argentinian Macedonio  Fernandez. The contemporary counterpart is in Brazilian  artist Waltercio Caldas: “There is a doubt which belongs  to clarity”.




DUALITY. Where does the Third World end and the First  World begin in this world? (Or vice versa) (See THIRD WORLDNESS). Is Latin American art in alignment with  European and North American art? Or is it the setting of a  local tradition? The Shakespearean dilemma evolves to  “Tupi, or not Tupi, that is the question” (pronounce “to  pe”), where the name of this Native people gives Brazilian  poet Oswald de Andrade the possibility of condensing ina  synthesis the fundamental doubt of national identity at the  crossroad of cultures and historical times. (See CANNIBALISM. See also PERVERSIONS OF HISTORY.) Tunga’s  installation “Palindrome Incest” (1991) claims to have the structure of the human mind. “I’m trying to annul the  terms of exterior and interior, of inconsequential and consequential”, the artist devises (See DISORDER).


DUCHAMP. “Already an old Buenos Aires! 2 months here”, wrote Marcel Duchamp to Walter and Louise  Arensberg on November 8, 1918. “There is the smell of  peace which is great to breathe (...). I have begun the part  on the right side of the Glass (...)”. Latin America can be  included within the impact of Western culture for Marcel  Duchamp. Yet, no direct influence resulted on Argentine art. In most countries the life and perception of the object,  under the Duchamp referent, would produce a long list,  with varying levels of problems and results: Colombians  Doris and Bernardo Salcedo, Maria Fernanda Cardoso,  Brazilians Waldemar Cordeiro, Tunga, Edgard de Souza,  Barras, Waltercio Caldas, Guto Lacaz, Jac Leirner, Waleska  Soares, Argentinian Roberto Elia, Chileans Gonzalo Dias,  Eugenio Dittborn, the early works of Venezuelan Jesus  Rafael Soto. The idea of the ready-made was developed in  other directions. Hélio Oiticica produced a series of  “Topological Ready-Made Landscapes'' (1970). Critic Justo  Pastor Mellado deals with the text lowered to the condition  of a ready-made—read and made—in the work of Dittborn,  according to the formulation of Jean Lancri. Cildo Meireles  declares his admiration for Duchamp’s “3 Stoppages

Etalon'' (1913-4). Meireles works in the inaccuracies, mis-perceptions and perplexities of the logics of measurements,  as in his installation “Fontes' ' presented at Documenta in  Kassel (1992). Cildo Meireles has devised the special  approach to “him”: “Duchamp’s contribution today has the  merit of forcing the perception of art, not as a perception of  artistic objects but as phenomenon of thought”.


ENERGY. Spiritual, vital, physical power is at the core of  the work of many artists. The physical energy of Latin  American art is in the electricity of the kinetic work of  Brazilian Palatnik, Argentinian Le Parc or Chilean Castro Cid. Yet it surpasses the formalization of mechanical forces  as in Gyula Kosice’s hydro-kinetic sculptures. The importance of these experiments in Latin American history might  be a hidden reminiscence in Modernist time of Futurist  dreams (See Futurism). Before that, in Buenos Aires, Kosice  C“Royi '', 1944) and Diyi Laaff (1946) were producing artic-—  ulated Madi sculpture and painting with changeable  mechanical structures, manipulated by the public. In Latin  America, however, there is an art moved by the energy of  another quality. In general terms, Lucio Fontana defined  some of these principles: “The new art demands the functioning of all energies of man in creation and interpretation. The Being manifests itself integrally, with the plenitude of its vitality” (Manifesto Blanco). During Brazilian  Neoconcretism (1959), the idea was that “the body was the

motor of the work”, with complex implications on the level  of individual perception and potency required by the Louvre de Oiticica, Clark and Pape (See BODY and EROTI CISM). The installation of José Bedia articulates direct  mythical archetypes within their ritualistic development.  They should be seen as energy, because they are like  “qmedicine”, “since their aura is not originated from the  self-mystifying intention of the postmodernist ego, but  rather from a sacred potency, both undoubtful and alive”,  Says critic Osvaldo Sanchez. Another Cuban artist, Ricardo  Brey, leaves aside any iconographic, descriptive symbols  and reiterative performances of Afro-Cuban rites to work  on the idea of a flow of symbolic energy. Argentinian Victor  Grippo takes the model of the development of Nature, taking the daily function of potato as food (See ESCHATOLOGY). The potato, being submitted to a pulsator, generates  electric energy (0,7 volts each) and they might also sprout.  The world is a symbol of man’s potential to produce consciousness. For Latin American men, since the potato is  originally from the continent, the work suggests the search  of an autochthonous culture, nourished by the energy of  symbols.


EROTICISM. A history of eroticism in the art of Brazil has begun to be written. Ivo Mesquita curated the exhibition  “Desire in the Academy 1847-1916”(1991). He wrote in the  catalogue that that may be because the Brazilian character  is not so given to anguish and sublimation, or because sexuality permeates the whole social life of the country, either in the conservatism that attempts to hide it, or in the  catharsis of TV soap-operas and Carnival, which liberate  and celebrate it; in Brazil an art of erotic Character has never been under privilege. In a masochist continent, as a  general circumstance, women had very little space for the  overt reference to eroticism. Thus the work of Chilean sculptress Rebeca Matte (1875-1929) gains an additional  importance in the circulation of desire. Overt circulation of  desire still seems more authorized in the work of males  where it is more frequent, as in the work of Leonilson,  Kuitca, Davila, Galan, Zenil and Miguel Angel Rojas.  Whereas in the drawings of Leonilson they are the subtle  revelation of a nostalgia of the Other, in the work of the last  four, through certain processes or thematic fields, such as  homoeroticism, there is a direct political clash with the  Latin American Patriarchy. In another dimension, Lygia  Clark dealt with the sensory experience Of touching)  involving given objects, which in her work O Corpo éa  casa (the body is in the house, 1969). “It is the human  being who assures his/her own eroticism”, she writes, and  “he/she becomes the object of his/her own sensation”.  ESCHATOLOGY. The Discovery found a continent with a  great variety of cosmogonies, some of which were very  receptive to the unknown Conqueror. The eurocentric  Christian character of the Conquest impetuously inscribed  a new and tragic destiny for whole societies. The violent  process of genocide, catechization and conquest, transformed the Counter-Reformist instrumental character  which benefitted colonial projects. Behind this move, there  was a confirmation of the historical eschatology. From such  a point of view, the Conquest has enticed a permanent  eschatological conflict, with the superimposition of a self declared, universal, ultimate destiny for man. Deprived of  its theological doctrinaire compromises, a poetic eschatology appeared in Latin America. It dealt with “last things'',  with an ultimate destiny. The work of Argentinian Victor  Grippo operates the eschatological transmigration of energy  from nature (potatoes, a source of energy and probably the  major contribution of America to the diet of Europe) into  art (a European concept introduced by colonization). The  artist reached his radical point when he actually ate an over one-thousand-year-old potato from a pre-Columbian  Andean grave. Grippo, within a cosmic perspective, dislocates the pattern of naturalistic eschatology to the level of  symbol, breaking a vain, repetitious cycle. In Venezuela,  Alfred Wenemoser mixes the ashes of hospital trash with  cement to build installations. A complex materiality, under  an eschatological transience, is unified as a constructive  matter, which, however, can never face its history of pathos.  It rather incorporates a conflict of symbolic temperatures of  the neutrality of cement and the phantasmatic impregnation  of life and death in the ashes. Moving from engineering to  architecture, that conflict of materiality finds its final  embodiment in the paradoxical spaces that Wenemoser renders to experience in his installations. Brazilian Jac Leirner  steals objects from airplanes to set them in a new order  under an unexpected logic, as if they lived the search for  their final place. A column of piled glasses refers to the  “Endless Column” of Brancusi and to the fate of things and  art as a Parousia. The organization of soap, perfume bottles  and toothpaste tubes, as well as air-sickness bags, deals with  the administration of body odours within both aircraft and  art. For Leirner art is a “place” for things, as their ultimate  destiny with the attainment of a perennial symbolic status,  i.e., becoming art, a “last thing” within a system of signs of  consumption. Among other Latin American artists dealing  with eschatologies, such names should be mentioned: Juan  Davila in Chile; Miguel Angel Rojas in Colombia; Barrio,  Antonio Manuel and Ivens Machado deal with direct human  eschatology; Rosangela Ressno (the semiotic eschatologies  of unidentified, found photographic negatives) in Brazil.

Tunga deals with a feces-rolling scarab (“rola-bosta”) and  perfume, for a project in the Amazonia. “This confrontation  has found its just metaphor in the small coleopter, the small  scarab, which is necrophagous and coprophagous and produces a sphere which is a kind of a moon around which it  develops its gravitation”, says Tunga. “It would be the confrontation between human eschatology and the eschatology  of the physis' ', he adds.


ESPEJISMO. Spanish term derived from “espejo” (= mirror) to describe that tendency in Latin American culture of  reflecting foreign dependency or influence, usually from  the hegemonic Northern hemisphere countries. Jorge Luis  Borges speaks of the “passive aesthetics” of the mirrors and  the active aesthetics of the prism. For a theory of cultural  absorption see CANNIBALISM. The trend of “quotations”  in art in the eighties distorts the “reflecting” character of  many artists.


EVERYTHING. “Everything human is ours”, said the  Peruvian Mariatégui (1926). In the prologue of The Book of  Imaginary Beings, Borges writes: “the name of this book  would justify the inclusion of Prince Hamlet, the point, the  line, the surface, the hypercube, all generic words and  maybe each one of us and the divinity. On the whole,  almost all of the universe”. Elsewhere Borges says that “We  may touch all European themes, and to touch them without  superstitions (...). I repeat that we should not fear, we  should think that the universe is our patrimony and try all  themes”. For Borges, Xul Solar lived recreating the  Universe. One may now conclude that everything could be  a genuine source for art in Latin America, because it has the  right to the universe, plus it holds a secret (See SECRET).  Borges offers the broadest challenges to the imagination of  many artists, be they Argentinians Kuitca, Porter or Bedel)  or non-Latin-American (Kosuth). In his Biblioteca de Babel,

Borges deals with a library where we may find that every thing expressible in any language has been printed. One  generation after the other has gone through the library in  search of the Book. Some called this library Universe.


EXCLUSION. The writing of art history is an exercise in  power of exclusion as well as inclusion. Someday, like the  history of the defeated proposed by Walter Benjamin, one  should write the history of those excluded from the dominant art history. This would include such artists as Gego in  Venezuela, Oiticica, Clark, Lygia Pape and Amilcar de  Castro in Brazil, or some from the Madi group in  Argentina.


EXILE. Uruguay is the country in Latin America where the  great synthesis - national, universal, political, or historical -  is produced abroad from Modernist Torres-Garcia and  Figari to contemporary Gonzalo Fonseca, Camnitzer,  Capelan and Gamarra. With his series of prints “From the  Uruguayan Torture”, a violent set of metaphors extracted  from innocent, daily circumstances which gain iconic  meaning, Camnitzer transforms the voluntary exile into a  necessary exile.


FALLACY.[1] There is no such thing as the monster called "the expert in Latin American art".


FOLKLORE. In Latin-American Modernism Folklore  played a major role in the realization of the national project. In 1920, composer Darius Milhaud advised Brazilian  composers of the richness of popular and folkloric sources.  Heitor Villa-Lobos and Francisco Mignone researched folklore themes like the Argentinian Alberto Ginastera in his  early Oeuvre. Tarsila do Amaral has taken the sense of  colour in peasant architecture, while Uruguayan Pedro  Figari painted the Afro dances of Candombe in his exile.  Writers, from Mário de Andrade to Guimarães Rosa listened to the popular voice. Mexican Orozco was critical of  certain nationalist relationships between the art of the  muralist and folk-art: “Painting in its higher form and  painting as a minor folk art differ essentially in this: the former has invariable universal traditions from which no one  can separate him... the latter has purely local traditions.”  The recourse to folklore became an easy conservative and  reductive cross-cultural experience. Against this impoverishment, Hélio Oiticica would warn that the capes  ``Parangolés ``''rises since 1964 against the oppressive  folklorization using the same material which formerly  would be folk-Brazil' '. Yet, Oiticica newer ceased his reference to genuine cultural exchange, as in his transparent  Yemanja tent in Eden (1968-9), rich in sensual experiences  connected to symbolic meanings. On the political level,  critic Nelly Richard observed that the artistic action of  CADA, the Chilean group Colectivo de Acciones de Arte,  and the Avanzada did not seem as threatening to the dictatorial authorities in the Pinochet regime as popular forms  of communicating such as theater and folklore.


FUTURISM. First great door to Modernism in Latin  America, perhaps because its direct rhetoric is so clearly  connected with the industrialization and modernization of  society. Chronology: February 20, 1909: Marinetti publish es the “Futurist Manifesto'' (Le Figaro, Paris); one month  later (March 26) Romulo Duran publishes an interview  with him Gin Comoedia magazine) and later (November 15,  1909) an article about this new literacy school in  Tegucigalpa, Honduras ; less than 45 days after (April 5),  Ruben Dario discussed Futurism in Buenos Aires (the  poems of Marinetti are “violent, sonorous and wild”) and in  the following days Sousa Pinto commented on it in Rio de  Janeiro; in August, Mexican Amado Nervo mentions “the  iconoclast vanity” of the new literary school; Henrique  Soublette in Venezuela July, 1910) and Chilean poet  Vicente Huidobro (1914) discuss Marinetti in their countries. 1921 is a curious year. It witnesses a radical rejection  and a fruitful adoption of Futurism in the cultural strategies of Latin America. In May, 1921, Borges refers to the  passive aesthetics of the mirror and to the active aesthetics  of the prism. “In the present literary renovation, Futurism  with its exaltation of the cinematic objectivity of our century, represents the passive, tame tendency of submission  to the medium”. Yet to the art historian Annatereza Fabris,  “Futurism is assumed by Brazilian Modernists in Sao Paulo  as a combat weapon, since 19251, due to the negative charge  which it contained”.


GEOMETRIES. The many geometries of Latin America  include the “Geometria caliente” of Argentinian Torres-—  Arguera, “geometría sacra” of Colombian Carlos Rojas,  “Afro-minimalism” of Brazilian Emanoel Araujo (named by  American critic George Preston, who did not consider the  possible allusion to Brazilian Concretism art), social geometry (art environment as a social diagram for the Brazilian  Antonio Dias) or the designation “Geometria sensible”, first  used by Argentinian critics Aldo Pellegrini and Damian  Bayon that is widely employed for the affective approach to  geometric rationality as it commonly happens in Latin  America. In such cases, Torres-Garcia is the archetype.


GHETTO. Beyond the historical ground and identity (See  LATIN AMERICA), the setting of specific space as an  authorized territory for the expression and self-representa-—  tion of ethnic groups and minorities may end. Exhibitions  could become a geopolitical strategy, resulting in prison  camps for art. Patronizing appreciation then ascribes intellectual quality to the confines of an artistic ghetto with a  calculated ethnic apportionment. The Brazilian artist Tunga  has declared, “Geographically I am a Latin American and  professionally I am an artist. Because all art belongs to  mankind, the attempt to organize thinking about art in geo graphic or geopolitical terms is, at best, a crude approxima-—  tion of what art really represents to the human spirit”.  Artists like Cildo Meireles, Alfredo Jaar or Juan Davila are  engaged in revitalizing and giving voice to the ghetto.


GLOSSARY . This glossary comprises a selection of entries  and is necessarily incomplete due to the vastness of the  object (See UNIVERSE) and to the universe of references  that one single artist can always involve. A second level of  incompleteness is in each entry, quite often vast fields in  themselves. Therefore most entries are presented in  abridged form or with partial examples. This is either due  to space limitations or because most entries indicate the  possibility of an issue. Hardly any entry would either  exhaust the theme as an absolute source or be universal in  Latin America. The internal differences have to be considered at this point, even between areas of a single region.  Deep social contradictions in a society of class affect art and  the question of its neutrality (See NEUTRALITY). There is  a plurality of responses besides mere “engagement”. On the  other hand, innumerable sources are neither exclusive to  Latin America nor even situated within the continent.  There is no purity or impurity in the process of enrichment

of experience. Geo Politicizing is a “coarse solution”, as  alluded to by Tunga. However, this historical, political, social  and cultural territory, in spite of its moving boundaries  (See LATIN AMERICA), is a geographical frame of the discussion that is surveyed by History. In technical terms  Latin America is a geographic subcontinent of the Western  hemisphere, yet it is dealt with here as a cultural continent.  Latino-americanidad should not serve the idea of multicul

naturalism as a policy of compartmentalizing the ethnicities,  by separating and dividing the one oppressed in relation to  the other oppressed, under the same perspective of devaluation. Multiculturalism should be denounced when it  imposes Opacity Over determinant class differences. Cross references serve also to eliminate repetitions. Yet certain  fundamental quotations might have been brought in more  than one entry, due to the autonomous character of a  source. A reiteration of certain paradigmatic names occurs.  This is due to the reality that artists, even if not compared,  have different qualities and that some are founders of the  local tradition of art, or are sustaining positions of radical  or unmatched importance. The given examples do not  encompass all the possibilities for a certain subject. This  glossary was written for The Winnipeg Art Gallery  CCanada) in complement to the exhibition “Cartographies'',  curated by Ivo Mesquita. However, the text does not discuss exclusively the participating artists in this show. Some

widely accepted or known terms, like Futurism, are not  explained on the assumption that the public is aware of  their meaning. This glossary doesn’t intend to be a general  theory of the origins of Latin American art. It is intended to  address the general public, and less the scholarly or initiated audience. There, the text ends up being a list of the  author’s doubts. Sometimes the entries are colleges or converging positions, or they might be the ongoing building of  a problematic issue. The entries are then scattered notes on  diverse themes in alphabetical order. The author is deeply  indebted to Ivo Mesquita, Jon Tupper and to the Winnipeg  Art Gallery. The initial commission of a ten-page paper on  the theme of sources of Latin American art evolved into  this Glossary as an autonomous publication. The author  also wishes to allude to the extreme openness of those individuals in accepting a personal way of writing which allows

a level of play and implies, in that confession, deep insufficiency, what Theodor Adorno mentions in his Minima  Moralia (1994). The author wished a transparent operation  with his net of prejudices, intuitions, apprehensions, self corrections, anticipations and exaggerations, as Adorno has  appended, which are never clear in the process of production of knowledge. The author did not invent the “UNIVERSE” (See entry), therefore many art critics are purposely quoted in order to denote a network of investigative  thought around Latin American culture, which is sometimes very controversial. The limited horizons of the author  are also dealt with in the entry BRAZIL and therefore omissions in examples should not be seen necessarily as dis crimination. They conform to the part of the announced  incompleteness of this glossary. Counterposing the numerous mentions of Brazilian artists, the specific entry about  Brazil somehow hides the country. An initial limitation

results from the fact that it was originally written in  English, when Portuguese is the master language of the  author. Hopefully cataloguing a mutable taxonomy in alphabetical order will not send the reader away even if it is  an incomplete glossary under a double perspective: if it  goes half-way in the recognition of a place it will have  accomplished an impossibility in the ever-growing world of  cultural exchanges. This glossary is an ongoing project.  Published here is a selection of existing entries from a list  which now comprises over two hundred and fifty terms.  The author hopes to publish an expanded version of this  text in the future.


GOLD. Contemporary Latin American art deals with pluralistic gold. In the phenomenology of Italo-Brazilian Mira  Schendel, gold is a corporeality in the painterly surface, condensing physical properties, symbolism, light and value.  Gold is the alchemical element for the speculative work of  Argentinian Victor Grippo. It is necessarily a symbol, not a  sign, within the idea of transmutation and a metaphor for  the meanings of art. In Percevejo Cerveja Serpente (1980)  gold is the strategic game of Cildo Meireles, where the  verbs to be (ser) and to see (ver) are drawn to each other in  a continuity of sounds and meaning. Tunga has surrounded  the Sugar Loaf mountain in Rio de Janeiro with a thin lead  ring and from there sprinkles gold powder over the city. As  a counterpart, in the headquarters of the commissioning  insurance company, he left a torus of lead that also contained gold. This complex work, Toro Economico C1983),  with the alchemical metals, poses an incisive political question: is something whose location is known but which can-—  not be recovered more secure than something that can be  removed but whose location is unknown? In Brazil, in the  18th century colonial past, gold produced an imperfect  pearl. (See PEARL and COFFEE).


GRAMSCI. Italian Marxist who studied the organic connections established by intellectuals with the fundamental  groups responsible for social production. Gramsci only  briefly observed the existence of small groups of traditional  intellectuals (clergy and military), attached to rural groups  in Latin America. Waldemar Cordeiro, an admirer of  Gramsci, organized the Concretismo With Geraldo de  Barros, Sacilotto, Lauand, Fiaminghi, Nogueira Lima), the  main art movement in Sao Paulo in the 1950 's. Cordeiro  himself searched for the Gramscian organic intellectual in  civil society in the fast growing and industrialized city of  Sao Paulo. Concrete art should aim for objectivity and  eliminate every individualistic trace by approaching the  logic of industrial production. New theories of communica-—  tion and linguistics (See COMMUNICATION) and forms of  representation (Nouveau Realism and Pop) led Cordeiro to  a revision. The Brazilian dictatorship and social crisis of the  1960’s were other compelling factors. Cordeiro’s “concrete  semantic objects'', are his reaction to the failure of all  utopias established on a technological basis. Cordeiro,  remaining a Gramscian, developed a new utopian synthesis:  “In the modern world, the means of production and the  communication media should be the same for everyone in all  places'' (1965). In Chile, says Justo Mellado, there has been a  renewal of painting with José Balmes (See WINNIPEG),  which represents positions inspired by the thought of  Gramsci, beyond the recommendations of the Latin  American Section of the Communist International. The modernizing attitudes of Balmes represents, for Mellado, a meaningful relationship between painting and Marxism.


HESSE, EVA. And also Beuys, Serra, Kieffer, Palermo,  Andre, Klein, Manzoni, Kounellis, Bacon, Reinhardt,  Newman, Tapiés, Johns, Warhol, Stella, Baselitz, Paladino,  Cucchi, Haring, de Kooning and many more are just a few of  the post-war references. The “postmodernist” trend of quota tion set the artists free regarding ghosts of influences, references and plagiarism. A world without boundaries, in spite of  the challenge of the differentiation within a totalitarian  trend, makes no shame in claiming interest in a non-Latin American artist (SEE IDEOLOGICAL PATROLLING). This  means neither a denial of specificities and cultural tradition  of its own in Latin America, nor an uncritical approach (to  anyone from anywhere). There is hardly any difference  between a regionalist purity of sources and an interest in  Bataille or Klossowski. In one of his many texts, Hélio  Oiticica made an appraisal of references (as precedents, differences, parallelisms) between Brazilians and non-Brazilians  regarding “The Transition from Colour in the Picture to the Space and the Sense of Constructivity” €1960’s): Kandinsky,  Tatlin, Lissitzky, Malevich, Pevsner, Gabo, Mondrian, Klee,  Arp, Taeuber-Arp, Schwitters, Calder, Kupka, Magnelli, Jacobsen, David Smith, Brancusi, Picasso, Braque, Gris,  Boccioni, Max Bill, Baumeister, Dorazio, Etienne-Martin,  Wols, Pollock, Tinguely, Schoffer, Nevelson, Klein, Barre,  Bloc, Slesinska, Pasmore, Herbin, Delaunay, Fontana, Albers,  Agam, Tomasello, Kobashi, Lardera, Isobe di Teana,  Vassarely, de Kooning, Rothko, Tobey (See UNIVERSE). A  Puritanism of Latin American sources finds no support in  reality. So they are sources and resources, plus Matisse With  talc). Brazilian Waltercio Caldas proposed an open art book  about Matisse with talc spread on top of the images. The  apparent constraints to the vision blossom in the problems  of perception—that of a lucid and transparent ontology of  opacity.


HISTORY. The Brazilian Cildo Meireles wrote about his  work Cruzeiro do Sul: “I want someday all works to be  looked at as hallmarks, as remembrances and evocations or  real and visible conquests. And whenever listening to the  History of this West, people will be listening to fantasmatic  legends and fables and allegories. For a people who can  transform its History into fantasmatic legends and fables and  allegories, that people have a real existence”. (1970). The  Uruguayan Juan Manuel Blanes, with his painting Paraguay:  Image of Your Desolate Country (c. 1880), the so-called La  Paraguaya, is the image of a defeated nation, presented with historical truth, dignity and no self-pity. Blanes, as far as  history is concerned, is a painter that anticipates the writing  of a “history of the defeated”, as proposed by Walter  Benjamin.For the Argentinian artist Luis Felipe Noé the  artist is “an instrument of history”. “The artist”, he says, “is  not a rebel against history, but one who makes it”.




HISTORY OF LATIN AMERICA. The critical understanding of the peripheral situation of Latin America in the age of  Late Capitalism, as a contemporary dimension of the colonialist legacy, leads many Latin American artists to an  awareness of being agents of history. Within a dialectic  praxis we may join the work of such artists as Luis  Camnitzer (Uruguay), Gonzalo Dias and Eugenio Dittborn  CChile) or Cildo Meireles (Brazil. No neutrality is allowed  in their project of deconstructing the opacities of history,  where, finally, the oppressed and defeated would have a  place.

HISTORY OF LATIN AMERICAN ART. In spite of previous denials (See SECRET), from the continent or abroad,  the art of Latin America also substantially nourishes itself

from the History of Latin America which is a tradition in its  own right and can be observed in constructive art (See  CONSTRUCTIVISM). The work of the atelier of Torres—  Garcia in Montevideo, Asociación de Arte Constructivo  (1934-40) was key to the formation (as voluntary identification) of the Buenos Aires groups and Madi in the 1940's,  whose artists exhibited in Rio de Janeiro (1953) and influenced the Brazilian Neo-Concretist artists. The , neocon cretist group CAmilcad de Castro, Clark, Pape, Oiticica,  Weissmann) is a reference for the artists of the seventies in  Brazil (Cildo Meireles, Antonio Manuel, Iwens Machado,  Waltercio Caldas, Tunga, Fajardo, Jose Carvalho, Iole de  Freitas) on many levels, such as ferromenology, poetics,  aesthetics, philosophy and ethics Cand less in formal  aspects). Younger artists (Jac Leirnmer, Fernanda Gomes,  Ernesto Neto, Waleska Soares, Frida Baromek) refer to both  previous generations as well as to other international art  movements. In Brazil, this is a cultural dynamic of transformation of ideas rather than a series of aggressive ruptures.




ICONS. During the sixties two major manichean Pop icons  symbolized the politicization of art: Che Guevara was a positive symbol for social utopia, whereas Coca Cola was developed as the negative symbol of imperialism (See CHE,  COCA COLA and PAN AMERICANISM). Currently, Frida  Kahlo becomes the icon of the Latin American woman and  for her effort to break through social constraints.  S


IDEOLOGICAL PATROLLING. Constraints and controls  of the ideological engagement in art activities. This has  been denounced by such artists as Hélio Oiticica, film director Glauber Rocha and composer Caetano Veloso. It may  establish such mandatory canons as nationalism, wretched mess, popular themes, third worldliness and a cynical denial  of interest in the work of foreign artists (See HESSE). It may  take the form of a press boycott or the over-throwing of  directors of national institutions for visual art. In its most  violent form it attempts “cultural murders'', as defined by  Glauber Rocha.


IMPOSSIBILITIES. Viewing the geographic, political or  cultural situation, the blind repetition of certain aesthetic  positions is practically impractical in Latin America. For  instance, Oswald Goeldi, the major Brazilian printmaker,  would never insert a romantic primitivism in his expressionism. Goeldi had spent his childhood in the Amazon,  where his father had introduced Darwinism in the systematic studies of the region. For Goeldi, nature was removed  from edenism and metaphysics. The only possibility was to  have it symbolize pathos, as in Munch.


INDO-IBERIAN AMERICA. A term proposed for Latin  America in an editorial of the Mexican magazine America  Indigena Cvol. XIX; no. 2, April 1959): “The name Latin  America can suggest that those who inhabit this great territorial extension are individuals who descend only from the  so-called Latin European peoples. (...). We believe in the  name Indo-Iberian America, since its inhabitants are  descendants both of Indians and of ancestors from the  Iberian Peninsula, or rather Spanish and Portuguese”.


INFERIORITY. Art and attitudes can be representations of  a feeling which derives from the colonial past. Ocatvio Paz  mentions as a Mexican characteristic, “an instinctive distrust regarding our own capacity” that we could extend to  other areas. The Brazilian film director Glauber Rocha said  that a Brazilian or a Latin American who was educated  watching Hollywood has the desire immediately mirrored  in the cinema. “There is a great influence of Hollywood in  Brazilian cinema, such as the wish for grandeur. From  Hollywood we accepted neither its grandeur, nor its development, nor even its sophistication. What we have always  refused from Hollywood was its colonialist ideology”  (1981).


INSTABILITY. With the social frailties, external exploitation, political corruption and arbitrariness and the continuous transformation of things, an ambiguously fascinating  and menacing nature develops as a sense of impermanence. Time promises no continuity. Where things sometimes are apparently stagnant, Hélio Oiticica responded to a process  of art as crisis saying that “of adversity we live”. The ideas of the precarious, of instability would pervade Brazilian culture, notes Carlos Zilio, for whom Oiticica operated a “permanent deconstruction and disarticulation of the categories  instituted by art, without looking for a resolution or synthesis”. Ibrahim Miranda Ramos takes the specific cosmoconic character of insularity in his native Cuba as the  ambiguous movement of a sea algae that both moves and  stays. The Island is also a lizard, as an entity endowed with  the ability to camouflage itself. In Rio de Janeiro, the sculptor Ivens Machado builds large sculptures with popular  construction materials (cement, stones, broken tiles, iron)  that become Beings of precarious equilibrium and frail life.  Like the shanty houses in the favelas, they seem in imminent collapse. The urgent disaster defines Machado’s work  as a diagram of the instability of Brazilian social structure.  This conflictive state between precariousness and a wish for  stability is also in the sculpture of Frida Baranek. Finally,  these two sculptors deal with a fragile social landscape. In  an order of more abstract values, the works of Venezuelan  Jesus Rafael Soto, says Guy Brett, are metaphors of age-old  problems: the relation of the real and the illusory, of chaos  and order; at the same time they suggest a new equilibrium  beyond a static geometric order. Some of the sculptures of  Brazilian Jose Resende confer clarity to this instability.  They are structures/circumstances where gravity of superimposed parts meets equilibrium, or where the cold paraffin retains the form. This is the case of a paraffin column  that retains the wrinkled form of a piece of leather. The  transparency of the method and the range of the risks confer on the work of Resende a rare character of sociability.  It is then time to remember Machado de Assis (“Memorias Postumas de Bras Cubas” 1881): “There came an air blast,  which wins in efficacy the human calculus, and there goes  everything. So runs the fate of men”.


INSULARIZATION. Cities and continents can be insular ized in the international art system. “I play chess alone  right now”, wrote Duchamp to the Arensbergs during his  sojourn in Buenos Aires (1918/9) as if he were sitting on  the desert, Andean landscape. The geographic isolation of  Manaus in the jungle and La Paz in the Andes, the boycott  of Cuba, the long political, economical and cultural process  of suffocation of Paraguay with its neighbours, in the  1870's after the war (See CRISIS and HISTORY) are denotative of the circumstance of exiled societies and groups.  However, the island of Cuba has transformed its insularity  into a cosmogonic character, like in Brazil where cannibalistic modernism gave a character to cultural exchange. In  his painting Visión de la Isla desde lejos (1991), painted  abroad, José Bedia depicts the image of an island-man.  Cuba is now embodied in a mythical mountain-individual:  nature flourishes from his body, labour energy flows in boats, trains, airplanes; life abounds from the archetype.  Two Cuban artists, Ibrahim Miranda Ramos and K-cho presented the problems of the historical and contemporary environment. The latter makes maps of Cuba in the form of  kites and baskets. There is an Aristotelian character in this  transportable space. K-cho’s Cuba is seen as transparent  structures and devices for the movements of the imaginary.  Ramos’ metamorphoses turn maps of Cuba into archetypal  lizards. For Ramos, Cuba has a long history of dictatorship,  bribery and lies (See INSTABILITY). The reinforcement of  this unstable quality and the spread of incredulity in history have enabled the Lizard-Island to survive as an identity  and to dwell in the poet Lezama Lima’s “invisible gardens'' of the “insular night”.




INTIMISM. Against the expected excess in Latin American  art (like colour, politicization, violence, popular culture,  etc.) there is an art of recollection and silence. Xul Solar,  with his delicate watercolours, can be considered the most  inventive personality of Argentine modernism (See UNIVERSE). Oswald Goeldi, through his drawings and wood block prints, developed in solitude the densest moral por-

‘ trait of the country and the most rigorous career without  experiencing decadence as most Brazilian modernists did.  Goeldi is now in exile from history, sentenced by historians. The work of Cuevas appeared as the reaffirmation of  the possibilities of small size, of concentrated fantasmatic  images in opposition to the large images of muralism (See  DICTATORSHIP). The nature work of Brazilian Leonilson  is a minimal cartography of private encounters Cand disen counters), where the desert is the intimate vastness of solitude, or where the globe can be an imperfect pearl. There  are no routes for the revelation of a topography of sentiments, except for the discrete course of the lines. His works  are confessions of a silent being, for whom every figure is  the ephemeral port of desire. Pleasure and pain are the accidents of this intimate relief. His intimism is disturbed by  the discrete tension between a state of innocence and a  sharp irony.


JAPAN. The growing Japanese immigration was taken with  suspicion by some pioneer Latin-Americanists in the early  20th century. Peruvian Garcia Calderon preached that “The  Japanese hegemony would represent for the nations of  America a mere titular change. (...). Powerful and traditional, the Japanese civilization would strongly impose itself on  the problematic Latin democracy”. Japan’s presence in  Latin America displays the best and the worst aspects.  During his stay in Rio de Janeiro (1931), Japanese painter  Tsougouhara Foujita left many influences including those  on Candido Portinari’s portrait paintings of that period. In  the early contributions of Japanese artists in Brazil, the work dealt primarily with landscape and portraits. There  was a difficulty in embracing nativist themes, yet there was  a need for absorption into the national society. Thereby  images that were too “foreign”, i.e. clearly of a Japanese  character, were avoided. As well as others, there was the  artist Takaoka Haminagai. Nippo-Brazilians introduced a  new character in the 1950’s and 1960’s with the calligraphic gesture of Manabu Mabe, the silent spaces of Tomie  Ohtake and the plurivocal sense of Flavio Shird’s painterly  action that connects Japanese calligraphy and memories  with Amazonic lianas and French gesturalism. In Brazil we  may refer to many other artists (Wakabaiashi, Kusuno,  Okumura, and in Argentina to abstractionist Kasuya Sakai).  In Brazil, Zen principles are observed in the non-logical  character of some works by Mira Schendel. On the negative  side, the Peruvian dictatorship of Fujimori completes the  wide range of the incorporation of Japanese heritage and  descendancy in Latin American identity.


KNOWLEDGE. The native Andean Felipe Guaman Poma  de Ayala wrote an 1188-page long illustrated letter between  1585 and 1615 to King Philip III of Spain describing and  denouncing the abuses of the Spanish conquest. To write  and illustrate, Guaman Poma had to learn Spanish.  According to van de Guchte (see her text in the catalogue  Guaman Poma de Ayala, The Colonial Art of the Andean  Author, New York, 1992), he showed a “huge array of  widely dispersed tracts of sixteenth century knowledge”:  moral theology, law, geography, and papal and dynastic  European history (See RESISTANCE) “Trenches of ideas  are worth more than trenches of stones”, said José Marti,a  moral designer of Latin America in 1891.


KODAK (provisory entry). With the invention of colour  transparency, a consequent hyperrealism was spread in  Latin America, as elsewhere. Mannerism, virtue, pseudo elegance fed this kitsch painting. These products, wrapped  in eroticism, historical genres (bodegon, vanitas), are soulless seductions. Their main circulation is in the catalogues  of auctions for an uninformed Latin American market. The  reader who would not consider that as art is entitled to  delete the entry from this Glossary as would the author  himself.


LABYRINTH. From the North to the extreme South, a continent wanders between the Labyrinth of Solitude and the  Labyrinth itself, as if a totality of diverse fragments were a  continuum from Paz and Borges. Hélio Oiticica situated  himself in a flow of desire: “I aspire to the great labyrinth”.  LANDSCAPE. The widely disseminated political character  of Latin America has been observed from conceptual art to  the theme of the body and landscape genre. This caused a  strong impression in non Latin Americans like Oriana  << Baddeley and Valerie Fraseft: “(€...) the landscape of Latin  America has been and continues to be the scene of bitter tensions, conflicting interests and terrible loss of life”, like in  the work of the Uruguayan Gamarra. The dramatic conclusion, derived from history and social structure, should not  reduce landscape in Latin America to a scenario of political  disputes. Quite often the foreign gaze has difficulties in seeing  beyond the exotic and the literary and towards a subtle landscape. Phenomenology, pathos, poetical light, complex sym-—  bols and signs, solitude, vastness and the void are the values  that would exemplify Venezuelan Reveron, Mexican Dr. Atl,  Brazilians Guignard, Goeldi and Tasila do Amaral and more  recently Colombians Carlos Rojas and Villamizar. Space loses  the monopoly of mere physicality to become a conceptual  place of instabilities and strangeness, where sensory experiences can descend to the depths of fantasmatic circulation.


(THE) LAST OF THE MOHICANS. The novel about Indians  by the North American writer James Fenimore Cooper (1789-  1851) has been the authorized model for much art and literature in Latin America. A good example is the bronze statue  Campolican (1869) by the Chilean sculptor Nicanor Plaza.  This Indian shows very few characteristics of his tribe, the  “Araucanos'' of Chile. Brazilian Rodolfo Amoedo even painted  The Last of the Tamoyos (1883), where the last Indian  receives spiritual salvation from a Catholic priest, since there  was no survival from genocide.


LATIN AMERICA. A continent of moving boundaries. Some  are under dispute (Malvinas versus Falklands). Argentinian  Kuitca has interpreted the individual distress and abandonment, the pain and silence which originated in the Malvinas  conflict. Other limits are shrinking, especially in the jungle.  This results from the Yanomani territories, recently established in areas of what are still “Brazil'' and “Venezuela''. The  tension regarding the present territorial rights of Natives has  raised the solidarity through art works by artists such as  Brazilians Cildo Meirelles, Bene Fonteles and German Lothar  Baumgarten.Claudia Andujar has chosen to live among the  Yanomamis, to turn her photography into a weapon for their  benefit. Other frontiers are expanding Northward: they  already comprise 25% of the population of Texas, as territory  gained by the means of an “illegal” act (now migration instead  of war, as dealt with by Chilean Alfredo Jaar and Uruguayan  Luis Camnitzer, respectively) (See WAR). Frida Kahlo, with  Self-Portrait on the Border Between Mexico and the United  States, is a master geographer defining the limits and differences between two cultural universes, from history to nature,  economy and ideology. This glossary is not intended as a geographic phone directory of numerous specific national characterizations such as Argentinidad, Chilenidad, Cubanidad,  Guatemalan Dad, Mexicanidad, Peruanidad, etc. (See ARGENTINIDAD, BRASIL, GLOSSARY and MEXICO).  LATINO-AMERICANIDAD. Just to turn into a problematic  issue what seems to be a univocal question, we may recall the  Brazilian critic Ronaldo Brito who speaks of the nostalgia of a  pre-logical phase: “It is current for example, for Latino TL American Dad ideology to be marked by a desire to return  to some pre-Greek period to recover the telluric forces  which were crushed by rationalist European colonization.  What can be done with such a simplistic cultural proposal?” (from “Waltercio Caldas Jr. Aparelhos, Rio de Janeiro,  L979 p=153).


LIBERTY. This is a synonym for art in Latin America.  Analyzing Duchamp, Mexican Octavio Paz concludes that  ">The condemnation to see oneself is converted into the liberty of contemplation”. For the Brazilian critic Mario  Pedrosa “art is an experimental exercise of freedom.”


LIGHT. Tropical light was introduced in Dutch painting in  the century of Rembrandt by Frans Post (1612-1680), who  visited Northeastern Brazil during Holland’s domination.  Impressionist and Post-impressionist painters travelling to  America have also directly experimented with tropical  light: Gauguin, Pissarro, Degas and Manet (“je n’ai vu plus  belle nature”, Rio de Janeiro, 1849). Ivo Mesquita observes  that in Latin American impressionism there was not the  mild light of Giverny, but strongly contrasting colours. For  the emotional character of light in Oswald Goeldi see  PATHOS. Electric light was not a Futurist depiction in  Latin America, but an actual plastic value. In the forties  Gyula Kosica, of the Argentine Madi group, built sculptures constructed with neon or fluorescent light bulbs, preceding by a number of years the Minimalist work of Dan  Flavin. Political light, derived from the ideological unveiling of reality, is the subject Gonzalo Diaz presented in this  exhibition. The chiaroscuro of David’s Death of Marat  (1793), suggesting the passage of a state of being into  nothingness (Argan), is a historical diagram for Diaz and  Mellado Protocolo 3 (1984). In “Cartographies'', Diaz presents an installation “Yo soy el Sendero Luminoso, besame  mucho”. The fourteen stations of this “Via Sacra'' present  arches crowned by golden hammer and sickles that lead to  the sentence “I am the Shining Path''. Sentimentalism is  substituted for rationalism in these times when capitalism  triumphs universally through the totalitarian dissemination  of the ideology of “the death of ideology” in neoliberalism.  Exploitation is represented in one stuffed coyote sculpture,  political action becomes photographic memory and labour  represented by an anvil is still the sole presence. The theater of the apparently solved contradictions faces reality, in  the presence of a tool, with which human labour produces  energy and social tension.


MADNESS. “Mother Madness, crown us with sparks!” (Manifiesto Euforista, Puerto Rico, 1922). The first exhibition of modern art by a Brazilian artist, Anita Malfatti, was  criticized in Sao Paulo in 1917 by critics such as Monteiro  Lobato, with the dismantling question “paranoia or mystification?”. For him new art could be nothing but abnormal  or monstrous like something coming from the madhouse,  except that here “such art is sincere, the logical production of brains troubled by the most strange psychoses”. Asa  coincidental icon of this cultural conflict, one of the major  paintings by Malfatti is A Boba (The Dumb) (1915/16).  Right after the Second World War, the Jungian psychoanalyst Nise da Silveira started an extensive program of art therapy in a mental institution in Rio de Janeiro. This led to the  creation of the “Museum of the Images of the Unconscious”,  now holding over 300,000 drawings connected to the “innumerable states of the Being”. Among the interned, one did  paintings of black squares on a white field in constructive  rhythms. Silveira had the support of two young artists:  Almir Mavignier and Ivan Serpa, both engaged in the early  movements of geometric art in Brazil. Mavignier later went  to Germany to get involved with the Ulm School of Design  and the Zero Group. Serpa, who became the teacher of Hélio  Oiticica and Waltercio Caldas, developed his work towards  constructive ideas. It is thus important to note that in Rio de  Janeiro, the seeds of concretist art and rationalist logic were  in a psychiatric hospital. In the late 1960's Brazilian artists  dealt extensively with madness as a cultural value in a  repressive era of dictatorship, such as Antonio Manuel in his  film “Loucura/Cultura” (1973). Cildo Meireles made a “zero  cruzeiro” bill, a worthless bank note bearing the image of an  Indian and an intern of a psychiatric hospital. This  announced the fact that those were two segments to which  Brazilian society gave no value at all. In Argentina the fierce  dictatorship which employed torture and political murders,  was fought by women. They were mothers, wives or sisters  of the disappeared ones. They would strike in front of the  government house, bearing white shawls on their heads,  embroidered with the name of their beloved. Every once in  a while, one would loudly cry the name of her missing relative. For their untamed and fearless demands against an all powerful and totalitarian state, they were called “Las Locas”  (the crazy ones).


MANIFESTO. Latin America adopted the European modernist strategy of writing manifestos as tactical declarations  of principles against conservative force or opponents, or as  an effective social means of circulating ideas. Some hundreds of manifestos in all fields from art to music were  written on the continent. Manifestoes were intended to give  “visibility” to ideas. When art historians take exhibitions  and manifestoes as the sole or main historical process, they  are distorting the cultural dynamics. (See OPACITY). This  unconsciously reflects the Latin American literary tradition  in dealing with art. Manifestoes are not the absolute source  of art and this produces a shadow (see OPACITY) over isolated artists like the Brazilian Oswald Goeldi, certainly the  most rigorous Brazilian spirit in modern art from the 1910’s  until his death in 1962. (See INTIMISM). That distortion by  national historians leads to“a second wave of opacity with  foreign authors quoting the former. They have fallen into  the trap of “manifests”, a new manifest destiny, now in  Bt 2


MANNERISM. Italian Mannerism influenced the religious  Andean schools of painting. The churches were decorated  with numerous paintings “because the Indians are much  more moved by painting than by sermons”, said the Jesuit  Anello Oliva in 1632 (apud van de Guchte) (See KNOWI—  EDGE). The style was introduced in the Andes by the Jesuit  Bernardo Bitti in the late sixteenth century; he was to  become a major source.

MARVELOUS. Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier has written:  “lo extraordinario no es bello ni hermoso por fuerza. Ni es  bello ni feo, es más que nada asombroso por lo insólito.  Todo lo insólito, todo lo asombroso, todo lo que sale de las  normas establecidas es maravilloso” (1975). Iraset Paes  Urdanela has written that “the essence of Hispanic-—  American marvelous realism is its obsession to name and to  find America in its natural objects and its historical facts'',  through the means of a dialectical and baroque discourse  which attempts the interpretation of a society of solitudes  and violences. Many artists attempt to transpose from literature to art such irrationalist patterns as the “marvelous  real”, “fantasmatic realism”, “fantasmatic fundamentalism”,  etc. As a result of constructing Latin America as a pre-logic  continent (See LATINO AMERICAN DAD), foreign bias  defines that idealized essence, where knowledge, science or  philosophy would find neither a place nor a social meaning. Crisis and critical consciousness would travel only  under non-disruptive authorization in this marvelous terri tory, a Western reserve of romantic difference.  MARXISM. Marxism Will Heal the Sick (1954), the autobiographical painting of Frida Kahlo, deals with a social reality. Plurivocal Marxism has been the main source of social thought in Latin America (See POLITICAL THEORY  and UTOPIA), but not always in aesthetics and very seldom  im artistic patterns. “As we know, Marxism and psychoanalysis are no game, because in their authentic vision they call exploitation and authority by their name, which brings its  price, says Brazilian Robert Schwartz (See PSYCHOANALYSIS). Between Utopia and the deficit (See ZHDANOVYCH), Marxism created the predominant ethics for art in Latin  America (See GRAMSCI and TROTSKY as two examples)  and its frequent dialectical character in many political positions. Justo Mellado has studied the influence of Gramsci in  Chilean Modernism through the painter José Balmes. He  points out the historical relationship between Marxism and  painting and, in the sixties and seventies, between university reform, political parties and painting.


MATTER. In 1946, Lucio Fontana wrote his Manifiesto  Blanco mentioning the necessity of an ”Art springing from  materialism which, in a sense,generates itself in accordance  with natural forces''. This position announced the precedents  of his Spatialism. “Existence, nature and matter are a perfect unity developing in time and space”, Fontana added.  The diagram of sociability is no longer in the literary description or the personal engagement in events. It is  rather in the rigorousness of the project, in the transparency  of the logic and the method of the work which matter. This  is the case of Carlos Fajardo and José Resende in Brazil.


MESSIANISM. Colonization has transformed Eden into hell  CRoger Bastide) and has created the field for the development of several forms of messianism. Messianism was  indigenous (studied by Schaden and Metraux), popular  CEuclides da Cunha) or European (transposed to America Bastide). “Messianism in South America never moved  beyond a first draft of nationalism. And has been nothing  but a dream for writers in Peru, and for the populace in  Brazil’, Bastide concludes. However, Bastide did not  approach modernist messianism, even if sometimes it was  full of irony and influenced by Futurist dreams.


MESTIZAJE. Ecuadorian painter Viteri made a work Collage on wood) called Mestizaje (1987). His work deals with  pre-Columbian colour, fabrics and materials referring to the  colonial past. In this work the intricate cultural process of  mestizaje deals with spaces and openings, light and shadow  in a poetical, “woven”, constructive Character. Mestizaje, the widespread and complex cross-cultural process is a  major character of Latin American art. In this process of  absorption, contribution or invention the words of Brazilian  poet Oswald de Andrade remain a key: “Absorption of the  sacred enemy. To transform him into a totem”. The mythological process (see MYTHOLOGY) finds its psychological  counterpart in Freudian theory, giving a symbolic meaning to the dynamic politics of forms and an openness to the  introduction of other moral values.


METAPHOR. “Metaphors have no intrinsic value west of  Tordesilhas'' (Cildo Meireles, 1970, commenting on the ethical attitude of natives of the imaginary “Cruzeiro do Sul” )  CSee HISTORY), whereas for Jorge Luis Borges the metaphor  is defined as “esa curva verbal que traza casi siempre entre  los puntos—espirituales—el camino más breve” (1921).  Borges further stated that “someday the history of metaphor  would be written and we will know the truth and the errors  such conjectures enclose.” See also ESCHATOLOGY.


MUSIC. The solo music of two major artist-musicians is  heard when the argument between art and music leads to  the substitution of dissonance. “Matter, colour and sound in  motion are phenomena whose simultaneous development is  an integral part of the new art”, wrote Lucio Fontana in his  Manifesto Blanco (Buenos Aires, 1946). In Brazil, Hélio  Oiticica first produced an art of fugues, polyphonic installations, samba sensuality, jazz improvisations and rock experiments. Throughout his career Oiticica made an art that  could lead one to observe his interest in Bach

(“Metaesquemas”), Haydn ("Núcleos"), samba  (“Parangolés”), bossa nova, Caetano, Gilberto Gil,  C"Tropicália"), singer Angela Maria Varizes and John Cage, jazz and rock’ n’ roll and silence. It might not be an exaggeration to say that except for Klee and Kandinsky, no  artist ever has surpassed such a rich universe of interrelated  art and music. One of the most famous sayings of Oiticica  in Portuguese is “O q eu faço é música” What I do is  music), and he contracts the sound of the preposition  “que” in the single letter “q”. My attempt to maintain this  game of sound in language leads me to write simply d  instead of do. I hope we can maintain this: “WhatId is  music,” in an attempt to preserve Ojiticica’s creation.


MYTHOLOGY. The matter is not to observe the absorption  of classic mythology in the art of the Academies in Rio de  Janeiro or Santiago in the nineteenth century. Neither is it  to catalogue the extensive reliance on Afro styles  CBrazilians Rubem WValentim, Mestre Didi, Emmanoel  Araujo; Cubans Lam Mendive, Bedia, Brey, Belkis-Ayon,;  Haitian Wilson Bigaud) or indigenous mythology (Peruvian  Szyszlos and Tsuchiya, Argentinian Portillos, Brazilians  Vicente do Rego Monteiro, Roberto Evangelista, Regina  Vater, Cildo Meireles). The interest is in the cross-cultural  history of myths as a position of resistance and cultural survival. Quite often Afro-Brazilian cults had to find Catholic  saints to correspond to the orixas as an escape possibility.  In the colonial painting of Potosi anonymous artists made a  “Virgin of the Hill'' (1720), whose dress became the silver  mountains of the mines. Thus that Virgin regains the  mythological identity of Pachamama, the earth and creation  goddess of the Andes. This mythological mestizaje is  revived in the work of Marta Maria Pérez Bravo. Her  mythological discourse has both an autobiographical character and an archetypical and cultural dimension, like some  mystical interdiction, observes critic Osvaldo Sanchez.  Disregarding such specifics, “myth is always a great truth,  like dreams,” says the Argentinian writer Ernesto Sabato.


NATIONAL. A wide practice on the continent, through  which art and cultural diplomacy seem to mingle at the  profit of the local market. Politicizing the question, during  the 1964-1985 dictatorial regime, two Brazilians declared,  without any previous consultation, similar principles in the  catalogue Information (Museum of Modern Art, New York,  1970): a) Cildo Meireles: “I am here, in this exhibition, to  defend neither a career nor any nationality, and b) Hélio  Oiticica: ”i am not here representing brazil; or representing  anything else''.




INATIVE. The indigenous presence in Latin American art  varied thematically in the early European representations  from the idea as a source and contribution to the national  identity, to primitivist references,ato subjectivity of native

self-representation and individual self-expression. Cuba has  very little native heritage, since the indigenous population  was exterminated in the first decades of colonization. Also  the mestizaje process rendered different approaches to self identification regarding the ethnic origin. The native gaze  has been absorbed throughout Latin America, as in the  Andean paintings of the Cuzco, Potosi and Quito schools or  in the baroque of the Jesuit Missions in Paraguay. Some  groups have also shown their distaste for the colonization of  their people (see RESISTANCE), like Guaman Poma de  Ayala. The long history of indigenous art has many chapters.  In the nineteenth century Brazilian academy, as commonly  as elsewhere, Indians did not correspond to their ethnic  group. This anthropological falsehood was reinforced with  Catholic morality. Native nudity would appear only in dying  Indians and corpses (like in Victor Meireles’s Moema of  1866), or in a Christian situation, like The Last of the  Tamoios (1883) by Rodolfo Amoedo. What was indigenous  gained strength in Andean countries and Mexico in the last  century. As early as 1855 Peruvian Francisco Laso painted  The Indian Potter, an individual full of dignity and an inheritor of history. In Mexico, the indigenous were symbolic in  nationalism and modernization. Under the pressures of for eign oppression and exploitation national identity appeared  in the last quarter of the nineteenth century in the paintings  of Jose Maria Obregon, Felix Parra and Leandro Izaguirre  CTorture of Cuauhtémoc, 1893). The muralist movement  brought the indigenous to public spaces, building for Mexico  the broadest set of symbolic images, with artists such as  Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros,  Fernando Leal, Jean Charlot, Francisco Goitia, among others. In European primitivism there was a relatively smaller  reference to the indigenous heritage of Latin America, as  with Henry Moore. Returning from his long European stay,  Torres-Garcia came back to Uruguay in 1934 for his final search for universal symbolism in native culture (See  EXILE). Modernism in the region faced the apparent contradiction of looking to the past. This movement sought to  regain the identity which had been lost, distorted or constructed in the colonial past. From the Peruvian magazine  Amauta (1926) by Jose Carlos Mariategui (“El título no traduce sino nuestra adhesión a la Raza, no refleja sino nuestro  homenaje al Incivismo'') (See RELIGION) to the painting  Abaporu by Tarsila do Amaral and to the Manifesto  Antropofago (1928) of Oswald de Andrade (See CANNIBALISM) this modernist attitude was widespread in the conti ment. Some contemporary artists are absorbed by the vast  and silent Andean landscape as marked by the pre Columbian cultures, others with the grief of the Conquest.  The aesthetic, which searches for an indigenous metaphysical space is evidenced in the work of Peruvian Alfredo  Szyszlos, Colombians Carlos Rojas, Edgard Negret and  Ramirez Villamizar, Uruguayan Nelson Ramos, in the books  of Argentinian Jacques Bedel, and in the photography of  Brazilian Sebastiao Salgado. More recently some artists such  as Cildo Meireles, Claudia Andujar and Bene Fonteles in  Brazil and Uruguayan Jose Gamarra, with his literary histori cal landscapes aligned their work against the genocide of Indians. In spite of the richness of this theme, historical  domination remains as a constraint to the self-expression of  Native groups in Latin America. This appears also in the  work of Chileans Gonzalo Diaz and Eugenio Dittborn. On  the other hand, “art” as a Western category is foreign to  indigenous cultures. Can we call the symbolic artifacts of the  ceremonial life of such cultures “art”? As the German artist  Lothar Baumgarten has dealt with in his work, this can  touch, as an act of linguistic appropriation, the very first  movements of the Conquest: the giving of European names  to the geography of the New World.


INATIVE LATIN AMERICANS. They were born in Latin  America: Lautreamont (Uruguay) (See SURREALISM), Lucio  Fontana (Argentina) Oyvind Fahlstrom (Brazil), Hervé  Télémaque (Haiti), Marisol and Meyer Vaisman (Venezuela)  and Saint-Clair Cemin (Brazil), Matta (Chile) and the Irish  potato.


INATURE. If confronted, Restany and Fontana have manifested a black and white nature. “Plastic art develops on the  basis of forms drawn from nature. (...) We conceive man in  his continuing meeting with nature as being in need of clinging to her in order to recover once again the exercise of her  original values' '. (Lucio Fontana, Manifiesto Blanco, Buenos  Aires, 1946). Nature is widely referred to in this glossary.  During a trip on the Negro River in the Amazon, French crit ic Pierre Restany published The Rio Negro Manifesto (1978)  to announce his integral Naturalism. “It is a matter of struggling much more against subjective pollution, than against  objective pollution, the pollution of the senses and of the  brain, much more than that of the air or water. A context as  exceptional as the Amazon arouses the idea of a return to  original nature. Original nature must be exalted as a hygiene  of perception and as mental oxygen: a whole and complete  naturalism, a gigantic catalyst and accelerator of our faculties  of feeling, thinking and acting”. He has written elsewhere  that the Amazonic nature produces a “capital mental and  psychic-sensorial phenomenon: the revolution of the truth”.


NEUTRALITY. The broad social contradictions of a society  of class necessarily affect the issue of the autonomy of art,  which should not be confounded with either neutrality or  political alienation in the case of a non-alignment with any  party or set of ideological principles. In cases like the participative work of Lygia Clark, there is an alliance with the  Other, whereas with Waltercio Caldas there is a politics of  knowledge.


NORTH. As the guideline for direction, this has been inverted (1936) by Torres-Garcia. Our North is the South (see  MAP), meaning the need to search for sources in the roots of  Latin America. In such a perspective Latin America would  now be the North for Canada ‘and the United States


ODOUR. In the nineteenth century, Brazilian painter Estevao  Silva (1845-1891) exhibited his still-lifes of tropical fruit with  their smell, since actual fruit was hidden in the room. Much  before Wittgenstein dealt with the verbal impossibilities of discussing odour (“Describe the smell of coffee”) in his  Philosophical Investigations, Silva responded to a multisensorial  challenge. In his exhibition of art, another sense (smell) was not  perceived as being the same as seeing the image. He dealt instead,  with the impossibilities of mimetism in art (Ivo Mesquita). The  work, Bolide Olfativo (1966) by Oiticica consisted of a white pillow with a black tube from which one could smell unseen coffee.  Coffee here was the perfume of darkness (black powder in a  closed container), which symbolized the void and at the same  time materiality as a symbol of the wealth and history of Brazil.  Of all the senses, man has paid least attention to smell; religious  symbolism and the aesthetics of perfume being the major exceptions. Oiticica developed a “supra-sensoriality” theory as the field  of experience. In Latin America, a semiology of odorific signs can  be drawn. Brazilian Lygia Pape (1970’s) has worked perfume into  a work connected with seduction within the politics of gender,  whereas Nuno Ramos emphasizes the function of materials and  their olfactory character in his painting (1990’s). Putrefaction of  meat in the work of Barrio and the rotten leaves in a map of  South America in the work of Antonio Manuel (1969) provide  the odour of decadence (death) in connection to humus/fertility  in a cycle of life. Odour is a sign of tradition within the anthropo

logical scope of the work of Maria Fernanda Cardoso. She departs  from the popular cuisine of the continent. Her constructions with  blocks of guava candies entice a mix of senses—vision, odour,  taste—which unify the idea of pleasure. The saturation of the  characteristically strong smell of the guava leads to the rhetoric  of odour as a suffocation in Cardoso's work.


OPACITY. The present, like the past, engenders opacities,  impairing expression and the flow or communication of art (See  HISTORY). The deconstruction of the opacities of history moves  Cildo Meireles in Missao/Missoes (How to Build Cathedrals). An  iconographic system of coins, communion wafers and bones is  set in motion which makes visible the relationship between  racism and colonialism brought about through the  Christianization of the New World. Luis Camnitzer rebuilds his tory with its connection to the present (see TORTURE). His Los  San Patricios deals with the Mexican-American War that resulted  in the annexation of Texas. Camnitzer discovers the unreality of  historical objects and the possibility for the artist-as-historian to  recover history from contemporary signs, symbols and things.  This reconstruction of history is a political form of the constitution of the oppressed as subject. In opposition to opacity, the  transparent physical character of materials in the sculpture of  Iole de Freitas is a diagram of social inception for contemporary  art.


OPIUMI\. If Marx said, under specific historical conditions, that religion was the opium of people, the Cuban revolution staged the most fluorescent art of Afro-religious heritage in Latin America  (See AFRICA and DRUGS).


OTHER. 1492 was “an astonishing revelation of Otherness (people, lands, cultures) beyond the confines of the Old World'', wrote  Mari Carmen Ramirez. Contemporarily, Heidegger’s influence has  been the awareness of an “existence among Others'' within the  irremediable separation between the I and the Other. Since the  early sixties, Brazilian artists developed, as a strategy for dealing  with a period of social and political crisis and psychological distress, an art that was an alliance with the Other. For such artists as  Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica and Cildo Meireles, among others, art  would perfect its existence and realize its full potential as a significant period and an irreplaceable experience only through the  action of the Other. At the same time, in Buenos Aires, Luis Felipe  Noe published his Antiestetica (1965). He discusses the making of  art in a chaotic reality. Art is then an adventure, involving oneself  and the Other. (See SOCIAL COMMITMENT). In the present system of hegemonies, the truth is that the “Other” is always us,  never they, observes Cuban art critic Gerardo Mosquera.


PAMPHLETS. Without being like a pamphlet artists would quite  often use the clandestine and subversive tactical model of the pamphlet as a channel of communication.


PAN AMERICANISM. The exacerbation of the Cold War (See  COLD WAR) in the fifties and the Cuban Revolution (1959) led to  the ideological confrontation. Latino-Americanidad was substituted for PanAmericanism as a way of excluding and isolating the  United States. Latin American solidarity was claimed against continental integration, which would incorporate the expansion of  American capital and military intervention in the Southern  Hemisphere.


PEARLS. Two pearls are sources of art in Latin America: the  imperfect pearl and the negro pearl. The Portuguese word for the  former, “baroque”, was given to the style identified with the art of  colonial America (see BAROQUE). Whereas the latter is a self given expression of ethnic pride among Afro-Brazilians, such as in  the song “Perola Negra'' by Luis Melodia. In the culture of the  Latin linguistic group, including Africa, the word “Negritude” rep resents ethnic self-respect without the negative connotation that  the word “Negro” has received among Afro-North-Americans. (See  AFRICA). In Brazilian baroque these two pearls have been constituted in a single jewel: the major sculptor, Aleijadinho, and the  great painter, Mestre Athayde, were mulattoes. Art was then an  occupation allowed to non-whites and a means of personal growth  and upward mobility in a social structure that was open to the  children of slaves (Dedicated to PRSR).


PERVERSIONS OF HISTORY. The first murder of a Native, the  first rape, the first descent of an African slave on the continent, the  experience of Otherness (SEE OTHER) is found in the perverse  face of history. The complex DUALITY. Guy Brett has commented  on the widespread proposition of “a Latin American ’subject’ faced  by overwhelming contradictions: on the one hand between experiences of the immensity and richness of nature”, and “on the other hand of its waste and destruction by corrupt administrations (in  league with foreign interests, which have been continuously  engaged in robbing the continent for more than 400 years)”. (See  DICTATORSHIP, TORTURE and UTOPIA). In the painting Filho  Bastardo (Bastard Child, 1992) Brazilian Adriana Varejao revisits  historical images, like the French painter J.B. Debret, to present  perversions in history, such as a negress being raped by a priest, or  an Indian woman prisoner approached by a soldier with his phallic  weapons. The artist is an agent of history for the politics of gender.  Chilean Juan Davila covers the male body with signs, symbols and  reminiscences of a perverse personal history. The signs of degradation of the private world are visibly attached to the body like scarifications and perverse decorations. (See THIRD WORLDLINESS).


PHILOSOPHY. “Today I am not sure of the orientation of contemporary thought in Latin America,” wrote Octavio Paz (1992). The  Mexican writer has also referred to the phenomenological influences of Husserl and Heidegger, the School of Frankfurt, the Anglo  analytical philosophy, etc. Historically the timely predominance of  a philosophical position (like the positivism of Auguste Comte in  nineteenth century Brazil or the widespread shared interest in  Oswald Spengler and Futurism in the first decades of the century)  gave place to a permanent interest in Marxism, under several  diverse approaches (See MARXISM). As with Merleau-Ponty and  Rio’s neo concrete group in the fifties, Baudrillard and Barthes in  the sixties, or Foucault and Lyotard in the seventies, philosophical  ideas are at the immediate disposition of Latin American thinkers  and artists in original language or translations. The time gap is  overcome as a sign of the close integration of Latin America with  Western philosophy. We could trace, for instance, the importance  of Kant and Merleau-Ponty for Oiticica, Heidegger for Mira  Schendel, Lyotard for Tunga or Spinoza for certain works of  Waltercio Caldas. Many other artists in many countries could be  shown as other examples. The expectation of an edenic, exotic,  folkloric art makes the philosophical substratum of Latin American  art Opaque and presents it as a pre-logic world (See LATINO AMERICAN DAD).(CFor other critical meta positions see POSTMODERNISM.)


POLITICAL THEORY. It is observed throughout this glossary that  Marxism has been the major political influence in Latin America  art of the twentieth century, in spite of different approaches.  Marxism was evident in the first manifestoes on the art of  Siqueiros, Orozco, Leopoldo Mendes, Taller de Grafica Popular,  Kahlo and many others in Mexico; Tarsila, Waldemar Cordeiro,  Livio Abramo, Portinari (Brazil); Madi (Argentine), Guayasamin  (Ecuador), etc. Of course, the artistic answer to Marxism was not  universal, varying according to strategies (Muralism, graphics),  themes, artistic programs, ideological alignments and, extending to  social goals, experiments in artistic language. As a rule, Latin  American artists did not believe in political neutrality. So far, the  Marxist deficit has found no substitution in Latin America. Asa  consequence, Latin American artists are widely seen as “political”.  We may observe the political character of Pop Art in Latin  America. Jacqueline Barnitz analyzed activist conceptual art of the region and concludes that “defying the commonly held notion in the United States that political art is not comparable with “good”  art, these artists are producing work of international value and  interest”. A different approach can be devised in younger artists,  like Argentinian Guillermo Kuitca: C...) “It is too obvious for me.  Of course, I can’t deny that there’s any political element in my  work. Daily life and political life are often the same thing here. The  problem is that because ’m Latin American people expect it to  have political meaning. But the work is really more universal even  if I use elements of political iconography” (1991).

POP. There is a perverse Latin American POP alliance:  Paternalism, Obscurantism and Populism in blind regionalism.  The two key Pop icons in Latin America were Che Guevara and  Coca Cola (See CHE and COCA COLA), as opposing symbols in  the decades of political conflicts (1960’s and 1970’s) which were  for utopia (See UTOPIA) and against imperialism, respectively.  Pop Art in Latin America deals with the exploration of an “anti consumption” structure, with poverty, hunger, with the festering  of “anti-communication” brought by illiteracy (a consequence of  the anti-consumption structure) and with censorship (See DICTATORSHIP and COMMUNICATION).


POSTMODERN. A term coined by Mario Pedrosa in Brazil in  1966 to refer to the end of modern art. “Crise do Condicionamento Artístico”, in Mundo, Homem, Arte em Crise,  São Paulo, 1975, p. 92). (See also CRISIS and ROOTS).  POSTMODERNISM. The term postmodern had been coined and  used in Latin America before the great discussion in Europe and  North America (See POSTMODERN), however, in the postmodern debate it seems that in Latin America we are only perceiving its  arrival, says Nestor Garcia Canclini. Some others point out that the  idea of postmodernity is useless in a continent where modernity  has neither yet arrived at large nor come for everyone. For  Canclini Latin America has a multitemporal heterogeneity, with  contradictions between cultural modernism and socio-political  modernization. That temporality involves the indigenous and colonial traditions with modern political, educational and communica-_  tional activity. According to Chilean critic Justo Mellado: “the

eighties and the nineties (...) have allowed that the demarxistiza tion of the artistic discourse be replaced by post-structuralism, Ie  the North-American version of a group of French authors of  diverse epistemological precedence, whose introduction to the  American editorial space gave place to a heterodox body of discourse which has been called “postmodern theory”.


PRECEDENTS. A glossary of Latin American sources and precedents to Western art could also be organized, from primitivism  sources to new experiments. It wasn’t by chance that Gregory  Battcock started his book on Minimal Art trying to prove that the  Mexican Mathias Goertiz could not be a Minimalist. If Minimalism  had started in Latin American this would have a disadvantageous  effect on ideas and prices. Since Latin American art is always hidden (see SECRETS), the artists from the continent are always presented as suffering and never exerting influence upon the art of  the North.


PRIMITIVISM. The impact of futurism in Latin America in the  first decades of the century was gradually replaced by Primitivism  as a general trend. Primitivism was closer to the reality of Latin  America, more coherent to the impact of the social Darwinism of  Spencer (see PHILOSOPHY) than the futurist ideas of social  progress and technology. This “modernity offered a possibility of  a connection with the past and cultural reality of Latin America.  Thus, Primitivism was not now an approach to the Other, but  rather a search for oneself through the national identity” (See  IMPOSSIBILITY). Furthermore, Primitivism was a filter between  Latin America and some tribal societies. Tarsila do Amaral’s painting A Negra (1923) is the major modernist work dealing with  Brazilian African heritage (See AFRICA). However she found her  sources of primitivism in Brancusi’s sculpture and Blaise Cendrars’  ideas of “Negritude '' in a sojourn in Paris that year.


PROVINCIALISM. (taboo, terror, phantasm).


PSYCHOANALYSIS. “As artistic talent and productive ability are  intimately connected with sublimation, we have to admit also that  the nature of artistic attainment is psychoanalytically inaccessible to us” (Freud). This entry only makes some cross-references  between art and psychoanalysis as a source. Briefly applying the  meaning of Freud to Surrealism, we may see, as devised by  William Rubin in “the Freud-inspired dialectic of Surrealism”:  “what had been a therapy for Freud would become a philosophy  and literary point of departure for Breton”. Mexico has been a  realm for Surrealist visitors (Breton, Bunuel), immigrants  CWolfgang Paalen from Austria, Leonora Carrington from Britain  and Cesar Moro from Peru) and the natives (Manuel Alvarez  Bravo, Diego Rivera at a certain moment, Remedios Varo, who  was married to French Surrealist poet Benjamin Péret, Augustin  Lazo). However Frida Kahlo and Alwarez Bravo did not consider  themselves Surrealists. Dislocation has been a territory for the  development of the three “last surrealists ” as named by Rubin:  the Chilean Roberto Matta, the Cuban Wifredo Lam, with the  Afro-Cuban orixas and the Armenian Arshile Gorky. In Brazilian  modernism the surrealist aspect brings a level of both a threshold  repulse and a dynamic incorporation of Freudian psychoanalysis:  “Before the Portuguese discovered Brazil, Brazil had discovered  happiness” (Oswald de Andrade, Manifesto Antropofago, 1928).  Ideally, in this land the “beau sauvage” was not reducible to the  Freudian theory because their civilization had not experienced

certain conflicts: “Down with social reality, dressed and oppres sive, registered by Freud - reality without complexes, without  prostitution and without prisons of the matriarchy of Pindorama”,  Andrade adduces (See CANNIBALISM and WOMEN). The basic  anthropophagous surrealism of Tarsita is a state of vigil, instead  of the elsewhere predominant model of the dream. Finally the  major relationship with the theory of Freud is established in the  fundamental principle that directs Brazilian culture in this century: the anthropophagous banquet,*“the permanent transformation  of taboo into totem” (Oswald de Andrade). For some other reasons, we find a similar denial of Freud’s positions for art with  Lygia Clark in 1966: “We refuse the Freudian idea of man conditioned by the unconscious past and we stress the notion of liberty.  Contemporary Latin American art as in other continents, isa  broad field caught up with psychoanalysis. Otherwise the psycho analytical dimension might be raised within certain discussions of  an apparently unrelated source. We should not limit the interest  to Freud, since other theorists like Jung (See MADNESS) and, last  but not least, Lacan have an importance in their own right. The  post-Freudian theories find their place among the sources for  Latin American art. To exemplify the individual approach, under  different circumstances, the “primal scene” was chosen, as dealt  with by Juan Davila, a Chilean living in Australia, and Julio Galan,  a Mexican living in his native Monterrey. This is implied in  Galan’s paintings like Mi papas el dia antes que supieran que yo  hiber a nacer (1988). For Davila, the primal scene is dislocated  from the narcissistic obsession, and moves toward a collective  symbolization. The primal scene is now History, in the chapter of  the Conquest. Juan Davila takes the character of Juanito Laguna,  from the series of paintings of the Argentinian Antonio Berni (See  TOYS), to create images where the boy is dressed in the make-up  of the “exotic” Latin American style of painting, says Davila with  irony. The artist further writes that “I will cast him in drawings of  Balthus, of Wuthering Heights, as Cathy (...). Juanito Laguna as a  half-caste, mixed breed, arrives in the “primal scene of an English  novel to enact the return of the outcast” (sic). Some paintings of  Galan touch deep levels of the individual topic. He plays with the  symbolism of regression to areas of the “primal scene” and he  nods to the “mirror state”(Lacan), as if the ego searched for the  trauma of the constitutive moment. The exploration of these inner  regions transfers the psychoanalytical reconstruction of the individual history as a pictorial visibility. Brazilian Lygia Clark’s work  evolved from an art connected to perception and phenomenology  to an actual practice of therapy with “relational objects”, following  the theory of Sapir. Such objects are defined in the relationship  established with the fantasies of the subject. Prior to this, Clark  had ideas of the dissolution of the figure of the artist, when  proposing experiences (See OTHER), in such works as  Camenhando (1964) and Sensorial Gloves (1968). Finally, in a  radical move, she called herself a “non-artist”.




RELIGION. The Catholic Church was responsible for the major  colonial artistic achievements all over Latin America, such as the  temples in Quito, Lima, Ouro Preto, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador,  Habana or Mexico. “The low anthropophagousness in the sins of  the catechism—envy, usury, calumny, murder. Plague of the so called cultured Christianized peoples, it is against it that we are  acting” has been ironically stated by Brazilian poet Oswald de  Andrade in his Manifesto Antropofago (See CANNIBALISM).  Peruvian Jose Carlos Mariatequi applied a bruisin directness in  his appraisal of the Indian problem (SIC): “Today, however, a religious solution is undoubtedly the most obsolete and anti historical  of all”. Religion is critically approached today by such artists as  Brazilian Adriana Varejao (the embodiment of suffering) and  Peruvian Moico Yaker (the perversion of the Judeo-Christian civilization). (See BREAD). A contemporary position is the approach  to Saint Augustine (396-430) to whose philosophical thoughts  Brazilians Regina Vater and Tunga refer. Tunga’s exhibition,  “Désordres'' (Jeu de Paume, 1993) is an installation which makes  reference to Saint Augustine, “either in theological discussions  with meditation on the investigation of the meaning of words or  in a simple anecdote which itself refers to a meditation (about the  Holy Trinity)”. “SER TE AMAVI'' (Confessions, Lib. X, 27-38) of  Augustine is the title of the installation. Tunga uses the anecdote  of the angel, the ocean and the “thimble” as a possibility for discussing the inexorable access to human language, the transcendence which, in the said installation, migrates to the aesthetic fact.


RESISTANCE. Since Latin America has experienced the Conquest  and so many dictatorships, her artists might be more than anywhere else bound to depart in exile or to develop their work as a  weapon of resistance and as a strategy of fighting authoritarianism  (See DICTATORSHIP and EXILE). Critical conscience is also  available in defense of one’s own freedom of expression (See  SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY). Among the Andean Natives, Poma de  Ayala’s protest (elaborated from 1585 on) is an example. (See  KNOWLEDGE.) In Africa, a Benin ivory standing salt from the  17th century (British Museum 1878. II-1,48) is a document of the  days of the slave trade. A Portuguese nobleman depicted in fine  clothes holds his sword, indicating the fierceness of European  presence in that continent. The work of Gonzalo Diaz, Eugenio  Dittborn, Virginia Errazuriz and others was developed in Chile as  an act of resistance to the Pinochet dictatorship.


RHETORIC. “I accuse my generation of continuing the same  methods of plagiarism and rhetoric as the former generation (...)”,  said Peruvian poet Vallejo (1927), while Borges sees the obligatory reference to tradition as rhetorical. His scepticism was not  based upon the (...) difficulty in solving the problem, but upon its  very existence (See ARGENTINIDAD). Im art, formalist quotations  by artists superimpose the elaborate visual baroque rhetoric on  religious rhetoric, thus hiding the political aims in Counter Reform. (See BAROQUE and OPACITY). Quite often the visual art  falls within the verbal rhetoric. Some argue that the visual rhetoric  of most prints by the Mexican Taller de Grafica Popular is propaganda, pure “ideological vassalage” (See ZHDANOV).


ROOTS. For Mario Pedrosa (see POSTMODERN) the crisis of  Modern Art is in the loss of its cultural roots (See SOURCES) and  its submission to unstable and aleatory patterns, like those dominating the market.


RUSSIA. The inscription of modern Russian art on Western art  history has opened a way of knowledge and the consequent possibility of its contributing as a key source of Latin American art.  Constructivism had a major impact on such movements as the  work of Brazilian Neoconcretes (Clark, Oiticica) especially  through the work of Malevitch and Tatlin. The Stalinist cultural  dictatorship showed an influence which was under the constraints  of political ideology (See POLITICAL THEORY), leading to the  production of an art of dubious quality. More recently, with no Stalinist weight, this influence has spread and been selected by  individual choice among young Cubans, like the Cyrillic alphabet  and Soviet imagery for Glexis Novoa or the “lubbock” woodblock  prints of Ibrahim Miranda Ramos.


SCIENCE. Some works of Argentinian Victor Grippo might look  like experimental science. The texts of Brazilian Tunga integrate  his works as pseudo-science. Their verisimilitude (vocabulary,  method logic, etc.) collapse in front of the strangeness of the  objects. A virtual truth, a pseudo-truth are confronted with the  psychoanalytical existence of untruth. The wonders of contemporary science (quasars, quantum physics, fractal space) seduces many  artists. Ernesto Neto established a circulation of desire in the articulation of certain scientific laws, whereas Waltercio Caldas makes  an “Hommage to Einstein'', when he proposes the imminence of a  collapsing perception. After all, relativity has been a firm soil for  Latin American Constructivism from Gego, Otero, Soto in  Venezuela, Madi and Concreto-Invencion groups, or to some neo concretes in Brazil. Victor Grippo gives the clue to the artist’s  courting science, saying that it does not mean to take science as  art or, on the contrary, a mechanical inversion. We better think  that science contains beauty, that an attentive gaze may discover  the beauty of a law or still the beauty of an experiment. And that  also art contains, in its own way, a natural law”. Artists in Latin  America quite often search for a poetical relationship between art  and science, for art itself would be a specific form of knowledge.


SECRET. Since Latin American art has been widely discriminated  against in art history (books and exhibitions) it remains widely  unknown. Therefore it is a secret, known only to the artists of the  region. Therefore these artists have more sources than the artists  from elsewhere, since they have any source (see EVERYTHING)  plus this


SECRET one, so far, for their exclusive use.




SMUGGLING. Europe did not only introduce smuggling practices in the New World, but also a pattern that intermingled spiritual and artistic life with smuggling. The oldest extant European  art work related to Brazil is a French wood relief depicting  Frenchmen in smuggling deals with the Natives for wood on the  coast of Rio de Janeiro. Hollow wooden baroque “santos'' were the  perfect instrument for smuggling gold in colonial America. Since  Brazilian protectionist laws forbid the importation of high quality artists' materials, painter Ibere Camargo has declared that artists  became smugglers if they wished those high standards. Also  Argentine Antonio Berni said he was a smuggler, “but I make nei ther ideological smuggling nor drug traffic; at best I have been  spending my life trying to fool the customs and to pass a vision of  art, of the world and of life, which is not on the official lists of  import and export products”. Recently the police in Spain  destroyed a sculpture by Colombian artist Doris Salcedo who had  been invited to an exhibition in that country. The alleged reason  was that the artist came from Colombia, a major producer of  cocaine (See COCAINE). It seems now that the artist's rights to expression has a geographical variation. Artists coming from  cocaine producing countries have fewer human rights than artists  coming from cocaine consuming countries.


SOCCER. Latin America produces no good art connected to soccer, in spite of winning the world championship seven times:  Brazil (3), Argentina (2) and Uruguay (2).


SOCIAL COMMITMENT. It is quite common for the individuality of a Latin American artist to be denied or required to represent  some aspect of the region. This happens both in regard to foreign expectations and local demands, to which he/she might be aligned  in a “South-American sensibility” (Chantal Pontbriand). Living  amidst a hard social reality, and yet in a less individualistic society, Latin American artists in general never believed in the absolute autonomy of art. Historically this belief in the social character  of the cultural project has led artists to search for a national identity and to engage social change. Ida Rodrigues Prampolin reached  the conclusion that “since Mexico obtained its independence from  Spain in 1821, if any quality has remained around the trajectory of  critical and artistic production up to 1950s it is the entailment of  art, politics and society”. This commitment has been altered by  the historical process. Says Argentinian artist Luis Felipe Noé: “As  a change we are now in a society in which the artist lives with the  consciousness of the “I and the Other'', “I and the world in front”,  “T and the Others'', “I and world around mine”. This way he finds  himself in adventure, not implicitly in a collective adventure but  in wonder. He has the tendency to meet society, however without  halting his own mission, his own sense of being”. Brazilian sculptor Carlos Fajardo, with his investigation and invention of the  poetic possibilities of materiality offers a level of sociability that is  pertinent to contemporary times. Working within a tradition, the  rigorousness of his project and the transparency of his method,  Fajardo opens new approaches to knowledge as an experience of  clarity. This is the commitment to the Other, in a contemporary  social dimension.


SOURCES. Brazilian critic Mario Pedrosa says that rooted cultural  sources are connected to original cultural patterns, with symbolic  significations and native mythology, and are not subject to absolute plastic values (see POSTMODERN). Author’s note: This  Glossary is not intended to be exhaustive. (See EVERYTHING and  SECRET).


SUGAR. The first revolt of slaves in America happened in the possessions of Diego Colombo, the son of the “Discover'', in the  Dominican Republic (c.1522). Cristobal Colombo himself brought  the first sugar-cane sprouts to plant on his second trip to the lands  which are now the Dominican Republic. By the beginning of the  17th century some 275,000 African slaves had been taken to  Europe and the Americas. The sugar civilization of Brazil was  depicted by Dutch painter Frans Post, the first important  European artist to work in America. Montesquieu, in his “L’Esprit  des Lois'', sets both the principles of separation of powers (formal  organization of the liberal state) and the justification of slavehood  on the grounds that sugar would be very expensive if it were not for slave labour. Contemporary Brazilian photographer Miguel Rio  Branco interpreted the sensuality, joy and hardship of life in  Salvador, Bahia in a book Sweet Bitter Sweat, which could be seen  as a metaphor of Montesquieu’s sugar. Sugar was the dagger, says  Uruguayan Eduardo Galeano, and the Empire the murderer. The

work of Colombian Maria Fernanda Cardoso, with the accumulation of guava candy blocks, disrupts any minimalist analogy.  The smell and its appeals to the excessively sweet taste turn the  works towards the Latin American history of sugar, where to produce was reverted as a loss. Sugar was the factory of underdevelopment in Latin America, says Galeano; therefore Cardoso’s accumulation stands for a perverse economic effect of wealth. She  could also be inscribed in the history of multi sensoriality of art in  Latin America, like Oiticica (See ODOUR).


SUPERSTITION. André Breton visited Mexico in 1938 and  observed the interpenetration of magical thought in all levels of  everyday life, “A world of omens, premonitions, cures and superstitions that is authentically ours, truly Latin American”, as Gabriel Garcia Marquez thought. A “Christian” criticism, a remnant of colonization, could be seen in the tendency to consider  superstitious the Afro-American cults like Santeria in Cuba and  Candomblé or Umbanda in Brazil, differently from the Catholic  cult.


SURREALISM. Since the “Chants of Maldoror” (1868) of  Lautréamont a video by the Uruguayan Isidore-Lucien Ducasse (1846-1870), the Surrealist process of dissociation was created by “the chance encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissection table”. Quite often Latin America is given as a surrealist  continent, as Mexico has been a haven for the surrealist exile,  “everyday life in Latin America proves that reality is full of the  most extraordinary things,” remarked Colombian writer Gabriel  Garcia Marquez. Surrealism and other affinities (see MARVELOUS) reinforce the idea of unconsciousness and irrationality,  sometimes assigned to Latin American culture. When a Brazilian  poet declares that “we had already the surrealist language” in his  Manifesto Antropofago (1928) (See CANNIBALISM), there is an  indisputable historical dimension. He was in the process of establishing a national project of culture. Therefore the past and native origin Ci.e., the language) had a contemporary meaning Ci.e., it  was surrealist, that is to say, it had the character of the then pre dominant international cultural movement). This is Andrade’s  dialectical perspective of culture. Thé Shakespearean dilemma (to  be or not to be) would then find a cultural migration in the pun  with the Tupi native language (Tupi, or not Tupi, that is the question).


SWITZERLAND. The country has a mystique opposite to that of  tropical geography, from snow to pure milk. The Swiss presence is  not only of “washing whiter” the money from corruption, drugs,  illegal transfer of national capital and exploiting the interest rates  of the external debt of Latin America; it gathers both utopia and  the worst. The major influence in Latin American modern architecture everywhere, as a result of his travels to the continent and his local projects in Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro, was Le  Corbusier, with his functionalist ideas. Writer Blaise Cendrars  contributed to the formulation of artistic nationalism with the  incorporation of African heritage (See PRIMITIVISM). Since the  end of the Second World War, the Concrete art of Max Bill and  the School of Ulm framed some basic principles of constructive art  in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela.


THEATER. As a paraphrase of Hélio Oiticica (“what I do is music”) Guillermo Kuitca could restate that what he does is the ater, as the sole reality of the image. Rina Carvajal has observed  Kuitca’s assumption of the role of spectator-voyeur, “presenting  the representation of a representation, the reflection of a mysteriously incomplete drama. We never know if we are seeing the narrative of the drama or an untold part of it”. If, after Guattari the  unconscious was understood less as theater than as the factory  plant of modernity, Kuitca can now freely reestablish the theatricality of the production of subjectivity in his art.


THIRD WORLDLINESS. A unhappy and self-indulgent attitude  pervades the work of many artists and photographers as the only  possibility for images of Latin America, distorting its totality. The  fear and refusal of this “Thirdworldliness” is however another  veiling of reality, hiding hegemonic interests. The cultural differ ences and economic degrees of regional development are another  level of reality that leads to economic, political and cultural colo nialism, which is now internal colonialism and discrimination (a  “regionalistic racism”). What is the role of cities like SAo Paulo,  Mexico, Buenos Aires or Caracas in their respective countries  today? (See UNDERDEVELOPMENTD). The prevailing standards  of the Third World in Latin America lead to phenomena such as  mass communication in a society with high illiteracy rates and  dictatorial regimes (See COMMUNICATION and TV) and Pop Art  in societies with large groups of marginal consumers (See  ICONS). Artists like Antonio Dias and Rubens Gerchman, con veyed highly violent image of politics, sex, labour, consumption  and cultural industry to deal with the structural tensions. This  peculiarity is the major contribution of Latin America to Pop Art.  In Argentina, Antonio Berni was still imbued with his classic  Marxism, when he proceeded with a radical formal change to con vey a new social perspective in his work. Earlier in the thirties he  was under the impact of the Mexican muralists, organizing his  work through the classical view of oppression in class society. In  the series “Juanito Laguna” (1960's) the inclusion of objects troy vés had a pictorial value, as in the work of Rauschenberg, but it  made a diverse presentation of a consumer society: the lumpen  child is at the very border of the border. The allegory of exclusion  from consumption is a melancholic denial of the capitalist heaven.  In Pop Art, the work of Brazilian-born Oyvind Fahlstrém (São  Paulo, 1928), shows a deep political commitment. He included  economic differences, imperialism, militarism, and underdevelopment in his art, reflecting his qualities as a “citizen of the world”,  as Pontus Hultén named him. More than twenty years later  Chilean artist Juan Davila returned to Juanito Laguna in the series  Wuthering Heights (1990), as if showing how historical perversion had fulfilled all promises to the body.


TIME. The multiplicity, heterogeneity, dimensions and symbolism  of time in Latin America create the possibility of a “glossary of  time”. Like the general glossary, it should be given as an “incomplete glossary of time as a source of art in Latin America”, even if  it is presented still more synthetically. In most cases just one work  is discussed in each entry. In his Time and its Secret in Latin  America, Saul Karsz has written about the different concepts of  time for the natives, the conquistadors, the African slaves, the  half-castes and the “Creoles”. There are many other cultural concepts of time, from cosmogonic, pre-philosophical, non-philo sophical views to highly developed philosophies. Such concepts  have been developed in ancient Greece, India, China, in the  Judeo-Christian or in the Islamic worlds, or among the Bantus.  However, as Paul Ricoeur has noted, “an evolving continent like  Latin America furnishes the best possible model of what might  also be called the evolving symbol”.

Agent of history. (See HISTORY OF LATIN AMERICA)  Atemporality. Atemporality is the basic support for myth in the  painting of Colombian Alejandro Obreg’On and Peruvian  Fernando de Szyszlo (See TIME Negation of time below), the latter invokes the pre-Columbian plastic and symbolic systems or the  Andean silent landscape.

Baroque. Circularity. Quite often time is circular for many indigenous  groups, See CIRCULARITY above.  Conflictual time.

Death of time. Title of a short essay by Cuban poet Lezama Lima,  who states that “in the void speed does not dare to compare itself,  it may caress the infinite”.

Delusion. This is the identity of time for Borges. “The indifference  and inseparability of a moment from its apparent yesterday and  others from its apparent today, are enough to disintegrate time,” he  writes in History of Eternity.  Destiempo. “Detime”, or a deconstruction of time, according to  Welly Richards, as asymmetry between the international horizon  of the production of the new and the reproductive context of  information/ deformation. It brings a dissociative effect in Latin  America.

Diachrony. Discontinuity. Nelly Richards has discussed the politics of discontinuity, as she observed how the international idea of the “new” is  apart from the figure (as anticipation) and memory. And that it is  opposed to the “national” past of tradition, which is the-legitimated by transverse recourse.  Duality. The links between history and time differ in Latin  America in the sense that it has a sequential and simultaneous  time (Anibal Quijano,apud Juan Davila). Duration. Hélio Oiticica would go beyond his adolescent interest in Henri Bergson’s theory of duration. Any position of the moving  sculptures Bichos of Lygia Clark is always necessarily ephemeral  and unique. “We refuse duration as a means of expression. We  propose the moment of the act as the field of experience. We propose the precarious as a new concept of existence, against every  static crystallization in duration”, she adds.

Ephemeral. “Blessed are the ephemerals that we may contemplate  the movement as an image of eternity and to continue to be  absorbed by the parable of the arrow until it's burial in the line of  the horizon”, writes poet Lezama Lima.

Eternity. In his History of Eternity, Jorge Luis Borges brings his  personal theory of eternity as a poor eternity already without God,  and yet without another possessor and without archetypes. For  him this is also an inconceivable word. Brazilian poet Vinicius de  Moraes has written that love should be eternal while it is lasting.  For the Catholic attitude in colonial Latin America, Saul Karsz  argues, “Time was perceived as against all-encompassing and  unbroken eternity which historical time imitates but can copy  only fleetingly and erratically”. Eternity was/is a crucial crisis for  some Latin Americans. Argentinian Jacques Bedel has made a hard  steel book, The Earth’s Moon, designed “to be almost indestructible, made to last an uncommonly long time”, to be read long  after our civilization has vanished, he adds. In his Book of Sand,  Bedel evokes Borges’s homonymous text, to build a book filled  with sand, which remakes the text every time it is opened. It is  thus an endless narrative, self-multiplying to infinity, and  embodying the desire to decipher eternity.

Futurism. In Latin America, the Futurist ideas meant overcoming  the old rules of the academic beaux arts, the satisfaction of updating with the new art movements the dream of advancement in  social time through a belief in progress, such as in fast industrializing cities like SAo Paulo. (See FUTURISM). A remnant of this  belief in progress is again found in the aesthetics and the logic of  the industrial production of Concretism in the fifties in Sao Paulo  (See GRAMSCI) and contemporarily in the syndrome of active and  anti-Third Worldliness (See THIRD WORLDLINESS).

Heterogeneity. Nestor Garcia Canclini points to a multitemporal  heterogeneity in Latin America, because seldom has modernization operated with the substitution of the traditional and the  ancient. University, science, industrialization, urbanization, literature and art live together with illiteracy, disease, political corruption, provincialism (See PROVINCIALISM). Canclini also mentions the disjunction between cultural modernism and social  modernization.

History. The reconstruction of History for a dependent continent  is a metaphor for the very construction of a past as the means for  the individual in the psychoanalytical process. With independence, time in Latin America gains the dimension of history.

History of Eternity. Title of a book by Jorge Luis Borges, with collected texts on the subject. Hundred Years of Solitude. Title of the novel by Gabriel Garcia  Marquez which refers to the circular and recurrent time of myth  that ends in the beginning and begins at the end. Nestor Garcia  Canclini mentions the disease of considering this book the symptom of Latin America’s Modernism (See WORDS).

Immanence. Past, present and future get mixed in the immanent  act of experiencing the art propositions of Lygia Clark. In the  immanent act, irreplaceable and non transferable per se, the temporal limits are not perceivable (See the discussion of the Mobius  band in TOPOLOGY and TIME/ Totality below).

Immobilism. The ancestral Colombian tendency to immobility, to  remain quiet and away from any changes settles the ground of the  painting of Alejandro Obregon. The literature of Garcia Marquez,

and Fernando Botero may be added. The sculpture of Doris  Salcedo articulates the volume of pieces of furniture and added  matter to create monolithic volumes like the embodiment of  immobility.

Intersection. Canclini quotes Perry Anderson about the intersection of different historical temporalities. He adds that postmodern  debate seems to be becoming exhausted in Latin America and yet  we barely noted its arrival. See TIME/ Heterogeneity.


Museum of the Novel of the Eternal. It is doubtful that things do  not start or they do not start when they are invented. Or the world  is an ancient invention, says Macedonio Fernandez in this  “Museum”.

Naturalness of time.

Negation of time. Atemporality can be a form of negation of time,  as in the paintings of Peruvian Szyszlo. For Cuban Lezama Lima,  dreams succeed in negating time and disappearing with dimension.

New causality. In “Paradiso'' (see below), to reach the new causality (the Tibetan city) it is necessary to go across all occurrences  and recurrences of the night, says poet Lezama Lima.

Nostalgia of history. The lack of a past of its own would generate  a nostalgia of history, concluded Argentinian artist Luis Felipe  Noé (apud Aracy Amaral), that could be connected to the idea of a  state of helplessness in the Freudian psychoanalysis (“état de  détresse”).


Outsideness of time. The place of “Paradiso” (see below) is equal  to supernature (“sobre naturaleza”), writes Lezama Lima, and  deals with lost nature replaced by an arbitrary and reconstituted  image.

Paradiso. Title of the novel by Cuban Lezama Lima. It reiterates  the circularity of time. Lezama as a poetical “theoretician” is the  basis of Tonga's work. Catherine David refers to the complex time  - baroque, circular and non-linear - in the history of this artist. In  his “Nervos de Prata'', he created an actual loop by filming a circu-

lar tunnel and thus creating “an imaginary toro (a topological  ring) in the interior of a mountain, as if time were trapped by  space.(See also TIME/Circularity and TOPOLOGY).

Perpetuum mobile.

Precariousness. See ADVERSITY.

Present prolonged. A time of multiple experiences weaves a present  impregnated by archaism with a uncertain future; the present and  the future are like holes from which the past endlessly comes and

goes like a sea stream. Like in the ”present prolonged” of Gertrude  Stein, says Argentinian Marta Traba.

Presentification of time.


Shroud. A notion of time impregnated with pathos, history and  profound memory may take, for instance, the mythical character  of the Shroud in Daniel Senise’s painting.

Stolen time. For the African slaves brought to America, the loss of  the cultural roots established the appearance of the interruption of  time “once and for all” (S. Karsz). Allegories of that deprived past,  in melancholy and nostalgia, are present in the book El Siglo de  las Luces by Cuban Alejo Carpentier, whereas José Marti dealt  politically with the idea of dispossession of the past.

Totality. Man is a time-space totality for Lygia Clark, “I am the  before and the after, I am the future within the present, I am the  inside and the outside.(...)”, Lygia Clark has written. Thus the  artist would propose the participation of the public as a necessary  condition for the existence of the art work, as in Caminhando (See  OTHER and TIME/Immanence).

Unfathomable instant.

Valueless Time.

Vertigo. The baroque exuberance and movement, the rhetoric of  images, the visual rhythm all lead to the transformation of circularity into a hypothesis of the vertigo of time.


TOPOLOGY. Latin America deals with topology as a refined complexity, producing a topology of topologies. This meta topological  construction involves the specificities of modern topology and the  new discoveries of Physics, the flow of fantasm and phenomenology, acts of perception and conjectural thought, levels of language  and problems of philosophy and constructiveness. In the Mobius  band, the paradoxical “unilateral surface” resulted from a torsion.  Therefore the continuity of time meets a circumstance where forward motion and reverse are contained in each other. Max Bill  made sculptures where the Mobius band assumed the rigid body  of metal and stone to become a contemplative object (1935-53).  Latin American artists brought the Mobius band to new sensorial  regions, thus reducing the work of Max Bill, a major reference for  them, into formalism. Hélio Oiticica made a wearable Mobius  band as a “parangolé” (1960’s). This cape would be art only when  worn and would produce complete energy in the unity between  the object and the one that was adding energy to it through dance and other movements. As a sign of the heritage from the  Brazilian Neoconcrete, on a conceptual rather than a formalist  level, we find topological concerns in the work of Iole de Freitas  (like the moments of a character of the Mobius band), Tunga  (toroidal surfaces), Ernesto Neto (torus), and others. Lygia Clark  proposed, in this same idea of transformation (See OTHER) the  experience of cutting a Mobius band lengthwise. Caminhando  (1963, walking) is a flow of time, which is immanent for it is  born from the unique and irreplaceable experience of each individual. This work is essential to Lacan’s topology, where it is  defined as a “pattern of transcendental aesthetics” (1967), in the  trajectory of repetition. The Mobius band has subverted the  opposing significant—signified (“a significant cannot signify  itself”, “A significant represents a subject to another significant”). In the process of individuation it raises the questions of  differentiation and differentiation and ultimately a level of continuity between the ego and the Other.


TORTURE. A widespread method of “defending democracy”  against “inhumane communism” that has been dealt with by  many artists. Cildo Meireles in Tiradentes, Totem—Monument to  a Political Prisoner (1970) set fire to live chickens on a pole to  make a radical statement about human lives at stake in prisons.  Uruguayan Luis Camnitzer has made a series of prints from the  Uruguayan Torture (1983/4), dealing with images from daily life  which could have a visual connection to the dramatic situation  in prison, since the artist was dealing with sensibilities under the  most radical constraints.


TOYS. Futurist Fortunato Depero created toys. Maybe as a consequence of the impact of Futurism in Latin America many  Modernist artists in the region created toys. For Walter  Benjamin, industrialization developed a mass production of toys,  with the loss of delicacy. Toys increasingly played the role of  substitution for the mother’s presence. Torres-Garcia made toys  within the symbolic parameters of his constructivism. They were  art-works for the sensibility of the “abstract man” as a child (See  CONSTRUCTIVISM). They dealt with the equilibrium of reason  and nature, aiming for total harmony. In Argentina, Xul Solar  made his munecos (dolls), avoiding the Spanish word “juguete”,  which suggested to him “bad juice” in a word game... The  Venezuelan Armando Reveron peoples his solitude in Macuto  with objects of simple materials and an extreme economy of  materiality in his paintings. They inhabit with symbolism, the  sacred space of “El Castillete'', his house. Hélio Oiticica may be  the inheritor of Torres-Garcia. He has not built toys but Crelazer,  another social utopia connected to the pleasure principle: “The  world is created in our leisure, around it, not as a flight but  rather as the apex of human desires' '. With Waltercio Caldas the  use of toys (like blank puzzles) belongs to the order of games of  “philosophical investigations”, dislocating Wittgenstein to the  field of perception. Children’s fantasies and impulses of destruction are in the perverse toys of Brazilian Lia Menna Barreto.  Some paintings by Mexican Julio Galan touch deep levels of an  individual topic. Toys reside in the symbolism of regression in

areas of “the primal scene” (Freud) and “the mirror’s state”  CLacan), as if the ego searched for the trauma of the constitutive  moment.(Abridged)


TRANSLINGUISTIC DETERRITORIALIZATION. This glossary  has been originally written in English, Portuguese being the  master-language of the author. This deterritorialization is meant to  compare to the answer given by the Argentinian artist Miguel  Uriburu, when asked by the British customs to spell his last name:  “You are 1, be you, are you”. In such Babel of otherness and identity, the artist developed his artistic project of dumping green  colour in the water of important geographic points (the Hudson  River in New York, the Grand Canal in Venice, etc.). Colour was  the unifying element derived from visual language in a world of  growing internationalism and disrupted by deterritorializations.


TROTSKY. Russian Marxist in his Mexican exile (1940) who was killed by Stalinist agents. Trotsky discussed art production within the world process of permanent revolution, whether under the  crises of the contradictions of capitalism or the construction of  socialism (See CRISIS). Art should be an act of consciousness and  individual choice, free from any bureaucratic directions like socialist realms (See ZHDANOV and LIBERTY). He stressed the  revolutionary character of the art of Diego Rivera, whose socialist  and national meaning was the result of a country still fighting for complete independence. In Brazil, the printmaker Livio Abramo left the Communist Party for refusing to mock Trotsky in a caricature (1931). Thus Abramo was saved from a later engagement  with socialist realism ... The major influence in Brazil was Mario Pedrosa, who illuminated art by making a claim for conscious mess, experimentation, freedom and social meaning (not engagement) adequate to the historical moment and working within the  legacy of Trotsky as a point of departure and then going much  beyond. Chilean artist Eugenio Dittborn called the video a contemporary woodblock print. The critic Justo Mellado had said earlier  that Matta, in some of his graphic attitudes, was “lithography in” the video. From another point of view, the heavens remain in service to power, from electronic preachers to marketing the election of presidents. Adorno, in his revelation of false consciousness, has referred to the liberal fiction of universal communication. The baroque rhetoric of the cross is almost nothing when  compared to television nowadays. See RHETORIC.


UNDERDEVELOPMENT. During the 1960’s the concept of  underdevelopment was dominant in political and economic  debates in Latin America. Aware of the national particularities of  each country (developed, capitalist, socialist, underdeveloped,  colony), Brazilian critic Ferreira Gullar proposed a dialectical  vision of the international character of culture in the book  Vanguarda e Subdesenvolvimento (Avant-garde and  Underdevelopment, 1969). Underdeveloped countries would  adopt a truly internationalist attitude only when developing the  knowledge of their own reality. This true internationalism would  be achieved as the countries become conscientious about their own specificities and identities. Such conscientiousness would lead  them jointly to mutual identification with art, to having more  power over changing international globality. Since underdeveloped  countries are consumers of the art of the developed ones, Ferreira  Gullar affirms, “the definition of avant-garde art in an underdeveloped country should appear from the examination of the social and  cultural characteristics appropriate to this country and never from  the acceptance and mechanical transference of a concept of avant garde that is valid in developed countries''.






UTOPIA. According to Sir Thomas More, Utopia was very close to  South America, just some fifteen miles from its coast. Maybe that is  why the Americas have been a fertile field for the projection of  utopias. Since 1492, like utopia under a nightmare, the “beau  sauvage” has continuously been faced with and resisted genocide.  Since the sixties, Cuba represented a real and possible social utopia  for a continent of great inequalities. The Cuban artist Ricardo Brey,  living in Belgium has written about present times: “I was born in  Cuba. That was Utopia. The cathedral too. Now we need to recon sider things. Maybe there’s no longer a place for cathedrals”. (See  GRAMSCI).

VOID. In her series of monoprints (1960’s), Brazilian Mira  Schendel reveals that the word has no penetration in her syntactical world (Aracy Amaral). Hers is an art of voids, where extreme  redundancy starts to generate original information (Haroldo de  Campos, 1966). Guy Brett asserts that Schendel’s work paralleled  the proposals of Yves Klein, Piero Manzoni, Lucio Fontana and  John Cage. Negation, he says further, has been a powerful philosophical resource in the development of avant-garde strategies in  Latin America. With the superimposition of transparent plans  (1950-51) Soto succeeded in humanizing empty space” (“Ilegéa  humanizar el vacio”), alludes Alfredo Boulton. The doubts of science, the historical disappearance of peoples and diasporas, the territorial vastness of the continent, geographic isolation, social abandonment, economic exploitation, explorations within personal  topology, solitude, desire, the impossibilities of Otherness—the  problem of the void beyond personal distress and approaching  philosophical speculation, finds within the existence in art the  experience of clarity.


WAR. Civil wars, wars among Latin American countries or wars with the Northern Neighbor (with its application of the Monroe Doctrine) are a source of art. This art, in the realm of the expansion of capitalism, is an act of resistance (See SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY). The craft of the Arpilleras of Chile, under the Pinochet  dictatorship (which realigned the country with capitalism) testified  for the grief under the political regime. During the Paraguayan  War (1865-70, which opened the country to British capital), Brazil,  Argentina and Uruguay committed genocide against Paraguay (an  estimate killing of 75% of the population), whereas the Paraguayan  soldiers resisted by printing newspapers in their camps and illus trating them with caricatures made by woodblock prints.

Contemporary Uruguayan artist Luis Camnitzer takes the  Mexican American War (1848), through which the United States  annexed the present territory of Texas, to deconstruct the opacities of history (See OPACITY) by building coincidences between  historical facts and present day objects (like a camouflage bag  inscribed with Coca Cola that he bought from a tourist stand at  the site of one of the historical events of that war). (See HISTORY). Argentinian Guillermo Kuitca painted a theater of individual  anguish towards the distant theater of the absurdities of war (See  DEATH).


WATERMELON. The heraldic fruit for Mexico is the watermelon.  Quite often it appears as colour intensity, as in the painting of  Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo. The painting of Dulce Maria  Nunez takes the fruits of the fertility of the land as symbols of an  historicity derived from artistic tradition. There are watermelons  and pineapples in Mermaid (1990), bananas in Dutch  Huitzilopochtli or corn, deified by the ancient Natives. The  Brazilian poet Murilo Mendes called the open watermelon “the  red bread suspended in front of the mouth of the poor, a spectacle  to the stomach, on view”. (See BANANA).


WINNIPEG. The geodesic center of the art of Latin America  while hosting the exhibition “Cartographies”. This mapping of the  sensibility and intelligence of Latin America has been trusted to a  Brazilian curator, Ivo Mesquita, as a voice from within the continent. It is a position beyond that in which present Latin American  curators “se verían despojados de su discurso, sufriendo la misma  situación que ellos (los curadores no latinoamericanos) habian  infringido previamente a los artistas”, says Chilean critic Justo  Mellado. He had previously detected something else, the  “Winnipeg effect” on Chilean art. Mellado points out the importance of the painter José Balmes who arrived in Chile, in 1939, on  the ship “Winnipeg”, at the age of thirteen, an exile from the  Franco regime. Balmes fostered an openness to the modernization  of art in Chile. He produced an informalism with a Mediterranean  character and a Catalan influence. He presented a way out of the  influence of the Mexican muralists and the determination of the  Latin American section of the Communist International. Balmes  was also active in the University, which played a role in transforming culture in Chile. The “Winnipeg effect,” which has also  been evaluated by poet Pablo Neruda in his autobiography  Confieso que he vivido, was, according to Mellado, a “construction of a referent of modernizing activities, from theatre to paint ing, from furniture to graphic design, the development of which  was in the hands of Catalan refugees who came on the same ship  as Balmes.”


WOMEN. Brazil profited from the most radical (See ROOTS) participation of women throughout the twentieth century. The first  Brazilian-born artist to have a one-person exhibition of modern  art in the country was Anita Malfatti in 1917. Tarsila do Amaral  established the basis for a national modern art that involved local  plastic values and a cosmogony where women have expended  great energy for the creation of a social place for art. During the  Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, Nelly Richard developed a criti

cism of resistance and a highly complex political analysis of the  social inception of artistic language. In this country, women of  different generations (Roser Bru, Virginia Errazuriz, Alicia  Villareal, Catalina Parra, Lotty Rosenfeld, Diamela Eltit and Nury  Gonzalez), using poetic strategies of ellipses and metaphor, effect eda political project for a cultural life under surveillance.  Argentinian critic Marta Traba, active in Colombia, made probably the first major attempt to understand the artistic process of  Latin America within a political totality. For younger Colombian  generations there is Maria Fernanda Cardoso and Doris Salcedo,  with their perverse disturbance of the systems of objects, from  nature to the domestic environment. In Mexico the new funda mentalist tendencies (with Rocio Maldonado, Dulce Maria Nunez,  Georgina Quintana, Monica Castillo and Sylvia Ordonez, among  others) overtly deal with the female presence in art and life, with  the tradition of the country and with desire. They repeat the broad  presence of the female gaze and imagination, as in the Surrealism  of Mexico (Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington and  Maria Izquierdo) (Abridged).


WORDS. “I insistently recommend, in face of the plastic-fact, the  verbal vacuum”, said Brazilian sculptor Sergio Camargo in this continent of the baroque. However, there are several examples in  which the dialogue with an art critic has been a decisive element  or a contribution to the formation of the art of certain individuals.  The crucial moment of Brazilian modernism, “Anthropophagi”  (See CANNIBALISM) had its starting point in the paintings by  Tarsila do Amaral, Abaporu and Antropofagia (1928), developing  its position in the Manifesto Antrofopago (1928) by writer Oswald  de Andrade. The poet Murilo Mendes in Brazil was important to  the development of the work of Ismael Nery. Marta Traba said  that in many cases “The only failure of the sorcerers is that they  were not perfectly followed in the rituals by officiating aids comparable to Pay for Tamayo, and later for Cuevas, or to Fuentes for  Cuevas.” In Brazil Mario Pedrosa established ethical standards  through in-depth dialogue with the art system. Neoconcretism in  Rio de Janeiro, and Lygia Clark among the artists of the group, are  very much indebted to the poet Ferreira Gullar for the organization of their thought. Since the early 1970’s, Ronaldo Brito in Rio  de Janeiro has exchanged ideas and worked very closely with  Sergio Camargo, Tunga, Eduardo Sued and Waltercio Caldas.  Tunga has written that, “More important though, is the presence  of Raimond Russel or Edgar Poe among many others. However,  Lezama Lima and Godofredo iommi as poets or “theorists” are still  found in the fundamentals of the work.” To this list Bataille and  Nerval could be added. Romero Brest opened the space for free  experiment in Argentina for decades, in a position in many ways  similar to Pedrosa. In Peru, the critic Emilio Westphalen gave his  support to the indigenous themes of painter Fernando de Szyszlo.  Marta Traba identified with some painting and literature, such as  Guayasamin and Huasipungo respectively in Ecuador, Szyszlo and  Vallejo in Peru. In Colombia she compared Garcia Marquez to  Alejandro Obregon (in the atemporality of the plot) and Fernando  Botero (the treatment of “normality” that is given to verisimilitude). Poetry and art were interwoven in Brazil with Poesia  Concreta (Décio Pignatari, Haroldo and Augusto de Campos),  with Concretism (Waldemar Cordeiro, Geraldo de Barros and others) (See GRAMSCI), as well as with collaborative works by Hélio  Oiticica, Julio Plaza and others. Poet Raul Zurita integrates the  multidisciplinary Chilean group CADA. For Borges, after his  father, Alejandro Xul Solar was the most persistent person in his  memory: “Xul has lived recreating the universe”.


ZHDANOV. Andrey Aleksandrovich (1896-1948). Russian politician, member of the Politburo. “In his capacity as secretary of the  Central Committee'', said S. V. Utechin, “Zhdanov was in charge of ideological affairs, and the ideological elements of Stalinism  were largely his creation. He introduced the obligatory school of  Socialist Realism in the arts, replacing the historiographical campaigns against Western cultural influences, ’formalism’ in the arts  and ’objectivism’ in scholarship” (p. 620). In Latin America the  major reaction to this orientation has been Taller de Grafica  Popular, founded in Mexico in 1937 by Leopoldo Mendez, Pablo  O’Higgins and Luis Arenal. Other printmakers to join the TGP:  Raul Anguians, Alberto Beltram, Roberto Berdecio, Angel Bracho,  Castro-Pacheco, Jean Charlot, Chavez Morado, Francisco  Dosamantes, Jesus Escobedo, Fernandez Iedesma, Garcia Bustos,  Roberto Montenegro, Francisco Mora, Isidoro Ocampo, José  Celmente Orozco, Orozco Romero, Mariano Paredes, Gonzalo de  la Paz-Perez, Everardo Ramirez, Siqueiros and Alfredo Zalce. The  main influences on the TGP were Posada, Muralism and prints of  the German Expressionists.


ZOOLOGY. “Hay peces que volan”, the astonishment of a conqueror (Lopez de Gomara, 1551) with “fishes that fly'' can be  compared with the present estimates of science: 30 million species  of insects live in the Amazon. One thousand, four hundred-fifty  species of butterflies can be found in Peru, certainly many more  than in Macondo, whereas Colombia ranks as the country with the  largest diversity of birds. However, according to the discussions of  Borges, Latin America could even exclude national ornithology to  invoke a nightingale, for the Argentinian feeling of strangeness.  (See UNIVERSE). A Zoology of common animals that included  chickens, cockroaches, lizards, parrots, pigs, piranhas, snakes,  tapirs, turtles and wolves, should be submitted to knowledge  under the perspective of a “natural history” of the cultural animal.  The Bestiary of Toledo would then denote archaisms and archetypal patterns of Mexican mythology. Argentinian Luis Bendit has  worked with mini zoos, where rats and ants (c.1971) search for  food inside a labyrinthine space. The investigative character of his  work finds such behaviours as a notion of territory and exploitation in the conformation of subjectivity. A series of “chimerical  animals in sidereal space", conforms to the Bestiary (1963-66) of  Argentinian Jorge de la Vega. Mercedes Casanegra observes how  anamorphic conflicts and materiality establish an elliptical  approach to an “other figuration” of man. The quality of these disorders is metaphorical of human conflicts: The Indecision, The  Schyzobeast, The Guilt. After all, a painting was called The Mirror  at the Stairway’s End to reinforce that human projective character. The violent neo-expressionist painting of Brazilian Ibere Camargo,  has the aspect of cave inscriptions, “witnessing the primitive perplexity of the human beast”, says critic Ronaldo Brito. His painting, Brito adds further, applies the dialectic of differentiation and  differentiation which seems to discuss viscerally the notion key  to the cultural construction of the ego in the West—the Principle  of Individuation. In the perspective of the history of culture, the  universal abstract man, as envisioned by Torres-Garcia, finds the  correspondence of a “universal abstract bestiary”. The constructed  Serpent (1953) by Mexican Mathias Goeritz precedes Minimalism  as much, it has been said, as Pre-Columbian serpent symbolism  and pyramidal architecture preceded the “drawing in space" of  modern art. And it still is a flux of time. Time, an immanent experience for each individual, is also present in the intricate game of  planar dimensions, like a “living organism”, in the Bichos  (Animals, 1962) of Brazilian Lygia Clark. The quality of nature,  like the lizard’s camouflage undergoes appropriation by artists.  Ibrahim Miranda Ramos assumes as an identity, the transforma tive process of the lizard as an emblem of the capacity of the cultural survival of Cuba, his country, faced, since the nineteenth  century, with foreign interventionism and isolationism. (See  INSULARIZATION). Tunga brings this character to the field of  fantasm, where phenomenology, eschatology, language and pseu do-science find an innominable synthesis and enter in “mutual  contagion” in an environment of braids of snakes (gender,  venom/anti-venom), double-headed snakes of polarization,  impasses and shit-rolling insects (see ESCHATOLOGY). The zoology of Tunga dwells in undescribed fantastic levels, where any  morphological description can be a false statement. A turtle  impaled with an icon tube is the Invitation to Reasoning of  Waltercio Caldas. “Don’t let yourself be misled by the suggestion  of the title”, adds the artist. Perception finds no rest in the critical  path. The sharp teeth of the piranhas would be applied to cut the  Equator line in the proposition of Barrio in Brazil. A shoal of  piranhas (1991) in the work of Maria Fernanda Cardoso, can pro voke negation by addition, where voraciousness may transform  itself into suffocation by excess food. Cardoso could be  approached by the economics of Cildo Meireles’ Neutralization  through addition and through opposition (1978). The native  fauna, like the tapir, is dislocated from the indigenous myth. The  tapir has a rich mythology, like Mavutsinim and the origin of the  Sun and Moon Twins among the Kamaiura. In Brazilian modernism, the nationalist movement “Anta” (=tapir), is a non-carniv orous totemic character, non-conflictive and, at the end conserva tive. In her Electronic Nature, Brazilian Regina Vater deals with  the relationship between contemporary society and nature, via  television as a diagram of the critical dimension towards  Otherness. In Colombia, contemporary Nadin Ospina uses the  metaphor of the tapir for anthropological investigations. Parrots  became a universal symbol for mimicry. During the Second World  War, as a move in North American cultural diplomacy and an  expansion of the market of comics, Walt Disney created a  Brazilian character (Ze Carioca) in the form of a parrot.  Unconsciously this is a double mirror: Brazilians are presented with mimesis (the parrot), whereas it has been said actually that  Disney did not create Ze Carioca, but took it from the work of J.  Carlos, the major Brazilian caricaturist, an act of plagiarism.  During the fierce years of the Brazilian dictatorship, the art institutions were taken as diagrams of governmental power. Lygia  Pape made a Box of Cockroaches (1960’s) where all the entomological characteristics (the formalist organization of the insects in  the transparent container) were unable to overcome a repulsive  presence in the sacred grove of the museum. In 1968, Nelson  Leirner presented the jury of an art salon with a dilemma in which  failure was inevitable: a stuffed pig. Acceptance would mean the  jurors were accepting a pig in lieu of art. Refusal would signify the  jurors could not distinguish art from the appearances of a pig.  Leirner seemed to be operating within the aphorisms of the  Minima Moralia of Theodor Adorno: “It does not matter how he  does, what the intellectual does is wrong'' (p.86). Against the  extremes of political violence, Cildo Meireles set live chickens on  fire. The work was called Tiradentes: Totem—Monument to the  Political Prisoner (1970). There was a complexity of references  from Tiradentes (Brazilian national martyr for independence) to  Totem. This architecture of monuments can be connected to the  Freudian totemic meal: cannibalism as a primitive appropriation  of the qualities that belonged to a person, the same way as the sac rifice of the chickens would make a claim for human rights and  give visibility to torture. The political zoology is reaffirmed in  Gonzalo Diaz’s installation “Yo soy el Sendero Luminoso, besame  mucho”, the coyote recalls the Hobbesian man-as-the-wolf-of man, in the rehabilitation of the character of oppression. Yet, all  this might be nothing compared to the fact that in Latin America  The Manual of Fantastic Zoology (1957) took only ten years to be  enlarged to become The Book of Imaginary Beings, which, according to the author Jorge Luis Borges) could include Prince Hamlet,  each one of us, “on the whole, almost the universe”.


[1] Entry added in 2020 by the author with the following note:
Among the many entries I thought of adding to The Incomplete Glossary of Sources of Latin American Art, one seemed indispensable to counterbalance the excessive interest aroused by the text over the last three decades: Fallacy

Periódico Permanente é a revista digital trimestral do Fórum Permanente. Seus seis primeiros números serão realizados com recursos do Prêmio Procultura de Estímulo às Artes Visuais 2010, gerido pela Funarte.


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