Abstract Critical

Concrete Parallels / Concretos Paralelos

Below are some installation shots and a press-release from the exhibition Concrete Parallels / Concretos Paralelos, organised by the Laurent Delaye Gallery, and on until the 2nd of December. The exhibition at the Centro Brasileiro Britânico in São Paulo shows British Constructivist and Systems Art in parallel with Brazilian Concrete Art. Until the 21st of December there is a concurrent exhibition of British artists at the Laurent Delaye Gallery on Savile Row, Experiment in Time.

British Artists: Robert Adams; Bill Culbert; Norman Dilworth; Stephen Gilbert; Anthony Hill; Peter Lowe; Kenneth Martin; Mary  Martin; Victor  Pasmore; Jean Spencer; Jeffrey Steele; Brian Wall; Gillian Wise.

Brazilian Artists: Geraldo de Barros; Hércules Barsotti; Sérgio Camargo; Willys de Castro; Lothar Charoux; Lygia Clark; Waldemar Cordeiro; Hermelindo Fiaminghi; Ferreira Gullar; Antonio Maluf; Almir Mavignier; Maurício Nogueira Lima; Hélio Oiticica; Lygia Pape; Luiz Sacilotto; Ivan Serpa; Alfredo Volpi; Franz Weissmann; Alexandre Wollne.

The exhibition Concrete Parallels / Concretos Paralelos is the result of a sustained programme at the Laurent Delaye Gallery over the last six years promoting and representing the British artists known as Constructivists and Systems Artists.  The exhibition, which takes place at the Centro Brasileiro Britânico in São Paulo, is the first on any scale to consider the parallel practices of ‘concrete’ and ‘constructive’ art in Britain and Brazil from the 1950s to the 1970s. The British work will be the particular focus of attention here, but it will be considered in relation to  Brazilian ideas and practices of the same period. There are striking similarities in the formal concerns of the art produced in both countries, and in the issues and debates prompted by it.

“On the simple level of appearances, there is a remarkable coincidence: the articulation of basic geometric forms through rotation, subdivision and projection is regularly encountered in both bodies of work, as is a formal exploration of space, interval and movement. And, beyond appearances, there is a common interest in the processes and materials of construction, in ideas of environment, in the relation of theory and practice, and in developing models of audience engagement and participation. What emerges from setting these works together is a strong sense of a shared language and purpose, albeit one developed independently and in markedly different cultural and social circumstances. There is no evidence of contact between the British and Brazilian artists in the 1950s or even of a direct and full knowledge of what each group of artists were working on—such dialogue would only begin in the 1960s through, for example, artists from both ‘groups’ exhibiting at the Signals gallery in London and participating in the São Paulo Bienal—but what is clear is that the Brazilian and the British artists were translating a shared visual and material language to positively and constructively contribute to the formation of new societies and cultures. As such, both acknowledged the social contract implied by modernist, constructivist and concrete ideas and practices.” in Sam Gathercole, from ‘The Concrete and the Human’, essay for Concrete Parallels, copyright (c) Sam Gathercole.