Arts & Entertainment

Sao Paulo marks legacy of Brazil’s 1922 Modern Art Week

By Nayara Batschke

Sao Paulo, Feb 13 (EFE).- A century ago, a group of Brazilian creatives rocked the art world with unusual works that paved the way for Brazil’s Modernist Art Movement.

On 13 February 1922, Modern Art Week, also known as Week 22, had just opened, serving as a springboard to launch a new and pivotal artistic movement into the mainstream.

“The Week of 22 was an event that, rather than bringing immediate impact, reverberated over the years. What happens after the Week is much more significant than those days,” Andrea Caruso, director of the iconic Municipal Theatre of São Paulo, tells Efe in an interview.

Organized by a wealthy group of intellectuals and artists — including Anita Malfatti, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Mario de Andrade and Heitor Villa-Lobos — the Week of 1922, which coincided with the nation’s 100 year anniversary of independence, ushered in a movement of artistic emancipation.

In the decades that followed, Modernists became the source of inspiration for some of Brazil’s most iconic artistic movements, such as Tropicalia and Bossa Nova.

“Those who make a living from art in Brazil today, be it literature, visual arts, theater or dance, there is no one who has not been inspired by Modernism,” Caruso says.

Drawing from European avant-garde movements like Cubism, Futurism and Expressionism, Brazilian Modernists played a crucial role in the modernization of Sao Paulo, which until then was in the shadows of Rio de Janeiro and the vibrant capitals of the northeast.

In 1922, Sao Paulo “was blossoming and growing thanks to coffee, and the Week was the elite group crafting (the city’s) vision,” Caruso adds.

To mark the Week 22 centenary, a series of exhibitions, film sessions and shows will take place in the city.

Highlights include a homage to composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, who graced a stage for the first time 100 years ago sporting flip flops and went on to become one of the most prominent Latin American composers of the 20th century.

Viewers will also be treated to one of Di Cavalcanti’s earliest paintings, Amigos, which will be included in a wider exhibition at Sao Paolo’s Pinacoteca (Museum of Modern Art) of some 130 works showcasing artists linked to the Modernist movement.

The works of Tarsila do Amaral, who was not featured in Week 22 but went on to become one of the movement’s most high-profile painters, will also be exhibited.

Tarsila, along with writers Oswald de Andrade and Raul Bopp, established the Anthropophagic Movement heavily influenced by Surrealism and which would establish the foundations for Brazil’s nationalistic modern style.

“(The painting) Anthropophagy has nothing to do with the Week of 22 per se, but it is an important example of the impact of the events that occurred in the 1920s,” Valéria Piccoli, curator at the Sao Paolo Pinacoteca, tells Efe.

Week 22 can be seen as the cradle of an “essentially Brazilian” art that “recognizes its diversity as a quality,” the curator adds.EFE


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