Comments on: Mira Schendel – Letters and Words http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/ Abstract Critical is a not-for profit company aiming to establish a new critical context for all generations of artists involved with ambitious abstract art. Sun, 09 Nov 2014 17:23:33 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: Matte http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/#comment-299684 Thu, 14 Nov 2013 01:48:28 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7529#comment-299684 *Sometimes when I start attaching too much theory to art,*

Good article by the way.

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By: Matte http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/#comment-299679 Thu, 14 Nov 2013 01:40:18 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7529#comment-299679 Klee, Schendel… it all starts to look like department store wrapping paper after I see it long enough. Sometimes when I take things in life like attaching too much theory to art, I do things like look at nsfw photos on tumblr and relate it to works in the western canon. I find lots of correlation. The venus is a common theme. Hairless genitals reference aesthetics in Ancient Greece. Saw a coffee table at Ikea, I bought it thinking it was a Julije Knifer sculpture with a piece of glass on top and thought I was getting a deal for $250, really joining a dialogue, you know. And he had generously made sure he had enough for everyone to purchase and enjoy. I found out later that I wanted my $250 back.

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By: Robert Linsley http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/#comment-282938 Tue, 29 Oct 2013 21:36:13 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7529#comment-282938 short answer, I agree with everything you say.

Long answer, you might be right about my inclinations. I was educated in social art history, and have written many contextual histories. I published one of the first academic studies of Wifredo Lam, and the first good one of Rivera’s Rockefeller Center mural, which Dawn Ades said set a new standard in that field. However, I am now very bored with that approach, and tend toward analysis that cuts across context – more useful to an artist.

Gego was open about her interest in Klee, but his example is thoroughly absorbed and transformed. The “taking a line for walk” sort of thing. If one looks at Schendel with Klee in mind and detects a resemblance, she looks derivative.

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By: Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/#comment-282823 Tue, 29 Oct 2013 18:05:27 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7529#comment-282823 No apologies needed, of course. I think your comments make more sense now and I would be inclined to agree in terms of a personal appraisal of Schendel: she most certainly did not seem as singular and directioned as her contemporaries and the comparison with Klee (invited by these exhibitions) certainly doesn’t do her many favours.

My hesitance was over the extent to which Schendel’s work must live or die next to Hesse, Morris, etc and how far that field of comparison might be characterised as “universal”. There were, no doubt, many interactions between Brazilian art and that of other countries across Schendel’s formative years (not to mention her own migrations). It does seem though that some effort must be expended in looking to the specifics of the Brazilian scene in which she developed rather than simply aligning it next to prescribed giants of US and European modernism (as you in part seemed to imply). I sense (from previous articles) that this may underlie a wider distinction between our views : as for me it would be strange to claim that Jan Van Eyck must be seen in comparison to Piero della Francesca (in any context but my all time list of greats) without acknowledging the considerable differences of the cultures in which their art emerged. Or as Panofsky said it, that ‘the cosmos of culture, like the cosmos of nature, is a spatio-temporal structure’.

This seems particularly important at this moment, given that the quantity of Latin American Art thrust before us looks set to multiply over the coming years. If such encounters are to be of value it seems essential that we do move beyond simply trying to slot the likes of Schendel neatly alongside the likes of Hesse in some ‘universalised order’ thrown forth by market forces. There are of course two sides to this: on the one hand the market will act to slot Brazilian art into its own niche market as ‘free’ from critical interpretation as an auction catalogue. On the other it will search for a value relative to European and North American masters (inevitably concluding it is of less worth – until the Brazilian economy rises sufficiently). In counteraction to these mechanisms as viewers and commentators it seems vital that we at least court the possibility that our world of relationships may indeed need to shift somewhat to accommodate an increased understanding of diverse contexts – or else simply admit our ignorance.

I will agree Schendel doesn’t seem the most illuminating artist on which to base this case – but I would also contend that the permeability of our ‘system of relationships’ is exactly what we will need to admit over the coming years if we hope to withstand bland colonialist universalities. It is a permeability which has been the lifeblood of art from Durer to Picasso (and far beyond).

Yes, Brazil may indeed be ‘western’ (in some definitions of the nebulous term) but it also possesses a wealth of quite distinct cultural characteristics. To contest that it exists at the centre of ‘western’ narratives, seems fanciful – despite increased attention of late. Of course, none of this necessarily makes Schendel any good – just implies that the means by which to judge her may not be from a rigid inflexible canon. (which I can see you are not suggesting in full – but seemed a danger of the subtext worth expanding!)

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By: Robert Linsley http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/#comment-280389 Sat, 26 Oct 2013 18:51:21 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7529#comment-280389 Ben, I’m sorry myself to have written an overlong response, or at least I said too much. Schendel’s work is alright but it’s not profoundly original or completely outside of canonical norms. And Brazilian art is Western, and as central as any as far as I’m concerned.

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By: Ben Wiedel-Kaufmann http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/#comment-280373 Sat, 26 Oct 2013 18:13:45 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7529#comment-280373 I have just written out an overlong response to this post but think I may be allowing rhetoric to get the best of me, and twisting your meaning. I wonder if you could clarify what you mean by relating the work to a ‘universalist’ discourse and the necessity to view Schendel in relation to the Western canon?

On a tangential note, one of the things that struck me – in an attempt to get to grips with Schendel – was the correspondence between her 1950s work and that of William Scott (who represented Britain at the 1953 São Paolo Bienal). These kinds of traces of (often) European influence on Brazilian art in the early 1950s (often taken in very different directions by the Brazilians in the succeeding years) seem a fascinating testament to the benefit and opportunities of opening up our ‘world of relationships’. (one that seemed to go unnoted in the exhibition).

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By: Peter Reginato http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/#comment-278606 Thu, 24 Oct 2013 15:42:40 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7529#comment-278606 https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=190872670323&set=a.190871640323.246724.563695323&type=3&theater

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By: Stephen Grant http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/#comment-275086 Sun, 20 Oct 2013 13:13:55 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7529#comment-275086 Till recently I found that when I looked at text in an artwork , I found it distracting and even annoying. However after recent visits to the drawing room , Victoria miro and the tate modern I have mellowed . The work at the drawing room was thought provoking and within a few days I visited the Tate and was seduced by the work of Mira Schendel. The installation Variants in room 12 is simply beautiful as is still waves of probability in room 10. Last night , the 19th Oct , I went to see Idris Khan at the Victoria Miro. A very powerful and thought provoking show. More power to the word , abstract or otherwise!!

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By: Robert Linsley http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/#comment-273358 Fri, 18 Oct 2013 15:55:03 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7529#comment-273358 I have a similar reaction to the drawings. When I saw them hanging in plastic I was turned off. The twisted paper nets are unique for her and pretty good. The rest of the work is very uneven.

I think there’s too much reaching for significance in the criticism that’s been hovering around Latin American art lately. Not that there is none, but the real value might be missed with too much theorizing. That was one conclusion I came to in writing about Gego. But then Gego might be a better artist than Schendel. It’s hard to say. Perspectives must increase, and each context has its own battery of the same, but the problem is still to relate the work to some general or “universalist” discourse. Schendel makes Eva Hesse look different. Good. But that doesn’t mean that we have to erect a whole new world of relationships to include Schendel – we still have to compare her to Hesse, Morris and many others we already know. And above all to Paul Klee.

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By: Jeannie Brown http://abstractcritical.com/article/mira-schendel-letters-and-words/#comment-273134 Fri, 18 Oct 2013 09:02:34 +0000 http://abstractcritical.com/?post_type=article&p=7529#comment-273134 A potentially fascinating discussion on how the human brain deciphers words and information – the overlap of written word and art, I too take literacy for granted, it’s easy to overlook the struggles of people with dyslexia.
I have found this discussion on Schendel’s work thought provoking.

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