Geometric Abstraction and Concrete Art in South America By Saavedra, David Fernando Cortés
Nonfigurative painting based on structural and geometric principles in South America can be traced back to 1923 in the works of Argentine painter and theoretician Emilio Pettoruti (1892–1971), the 1925 paintings of Italian-Argentine artist Juan del Prete (1897–1978), and in the dynamic abstract canvases of Chilean artist Luis Vargas Rosas in the 1920s. However, it was only in 1935 with the creation of the Asociación de Arte Constructivo (AAC) by the Uruguayan painter and ideologist Joaquín Torres-García (1874–1949) that systematic experimentation with geometric and architectural principles came to dominate the pictorial and sculptural production of a cohesive artistic sector. Both the Argentinean Asociación de Arte Concreto Invención and the MADI group, which both dominated the concrete art scene in Argentina after the 1940s, were clearly influenced by AAC and the Taller Torres García, although they criticized the latter’s metaphysical preoccupations. In Colombia and Venezuela, the creation of geometric concrete sculptures was boosted by a minimalistic approach to the use of industrial materials, allowing artists to create cutting-edge compositions at a relatively low cost. In the 1950s, concrete visual art and poetry gained momentum in Brazil, largely thanks to the work of the antagonist Ruptura and Frente groups, which linked Latin American art to a larger international modernist artistic trend.