This article documents a contribution to Brazilian constructive art at a time when the viewer was becoming more of a participant and the artist’s function was to create opportunities for the viewer to get involved in works of art. The article is therefore important for two reasons: as a novice intellectual’s critical memoir that reveals, among other things, his observations, and as a document relating to a cultural environment that existed alongside the one that subsequently produced Projeto Construtivo Brasileiro na Arte, the exhibition that opened two years later, with Ronaldo Brito as one of the curators. The article thus sheds some light on the debate over Brazilian constructive art.
The visual artist Sérgio [de] Camargo (1930–90) was a sculptor who was also engaged in the art of embossing. After a stint in Argentina in the 1940s, where he was a member of the Academia Altamira in Buenos Aires together with artists such as Emilio Pettoruti and Lucio Fontana, the Brazilian artist studied philosophy at the Sorbonne. He wrote this article shortly after returning to Brazil from Paris where, in the 1960s, he joined the Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visuel (GRAV), which believed in collective art projects since the idea of the solitary artist was by then an outdated concept. The group experimented with kinetic devices and mechanisms and with optical effects created by artificial light and movement. Some of these ideas are mentioned in Brito’s review of Camargo’s work, including the concept of the viewer’s involvement in the work of art. During his time with the GRAV group in Paris, Camargo produced monochromatic structures with white surfaces on which cylindrical wooden reliefs created a play of light that yielded pairs of opposites such as order/disorder, full/empty. In the late 1960s, Camargo produced sculptures for public places using Carrara marble, which he later exhibited at the Museu de Arte Moderna in Rio de Janeiro.
Ronaldo [Correia de] Brito (b. 1951), from the state of Ceará, is one of the most important and influential art critics in Brazil. His essays have been published in books, magazines, and exhibition catalogues. He also writes for the newspaper Opinião and was one of the founders of the magazines Malasartes and Gávea. In the 1970s he was one of the main instigators of the initiative to re-examine the neo-concrete art movement and its legacy to contemporary Brazilian art.