|Abstract and non-figurative tendencies are part of the international history of art since the beginnings of the 20th century. Wanting to deviate from the illusionist origins of painting and from the concept of the painting as a “window to the world”, they use different alternatives to free the visual arts from their initial objective of representing reality.
In the mid-forties, Buenos Aires turned into one of the most active centers of Concrete Art and its variations. Madí, Asociación Arte Concreto Invención and Perceptismo are the three groups formed by Argentines such as Gyula Kosice and Enio Iommi, and Uruguayans such as Rhod Rothfuss and Carmelo Arden Quin, to contribute to the international debate of Concretism.
The artists use material elements of visual language, such as forms, colors, lines, and planes. Their works replace the traditional octagonal framework with irregular and unevenly- cut contours and investigate the function of layers of color and of the system of structures in series. They also invent articulated and transformable “sculptures” and resort to industrial materials such as lacquers, glass and bakelite. In doing so, they manufacture object-paintings mounted on walls and aerial mobiles hanging in space.
In the decade of the 50s, Alejandro Otero paints his series of white abstractions with chromatic lines in Caracas, while Brazilians Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark turn color and light into bodies that materialize as the spectator observes them. In the same decade and the following, Julio Le Parc and Abraham Palatnik construct boxes and artifacts that investigate the physical and perceptive experience of sight, adding to it the concept of real or illusory movement and the active participation of the viewer, both possibilities opened by optic and kinetic art.
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