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Flans and urnas quentes by Antonio Manuel

Asbury, Michael (2011) Flans and urnas quentes by Antonio Manuel. In: Antonio Manuel: Art Catalogue. Americas Society, New York, USA.

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Asbury, Michael

Contribution to catalogue for related exhibition: Antonio Manuel, curated by Claudia Calirman.

Notorious amongst Antonio Manuel's work of the 1960s are the Flans (Flongs, or Stereotype Moldes). These were produced using high and low relief matrices for the printing process of newspaper pages, over which the artist applied paint. The actual process of production involved a semi-clandestine access to the newspaper’s printing workshop, leading eventually to interference in certain runs of the newspaper itself.

The portrayal of ‘common people’ had been a widespread theme in Brazilian modern art and its re-emergence in the 1960s could be considered as a project of demythication of prevailing associations with the ethnic composition of the nation. Antonio Manuel’s infatuation with the ordinariness of the human condition can be remarked in his early expressive drawing technique that recalls, in its repetitiveness, and its simple outlines, Dubuffet’s faux-naive paintings. These drawings developed into the Flan series where the work becomes inextricably associated with the newspaper’s content and process of production. As a result, visual interferences within the newspaper layout became increasingly economical as whole sections were allowed to become legible or visible, with particular emphasis being given to news items covering the violence perpetrated by the state on ordinary people. Shortly after Nova Objetividade Brasileira, Antonio Manuel participated in Apocalipopótese, an open air ‘happening’ at the Aterro do Flamengo landfill area that took place in 1968 on the eve of AI5. The event, named as a consideration of the hypothesis of apocalypse, gathered a diverse group of artists including, Oiticica, Rogerio Duarte, Lygia Pape, dancers from the favela of Mangueira samba school, among others. Prior to the event, organisational meetings were held at Oiticica’s house where Antonio Manuel and Rogério Duarte discussed a possible collaboration. They proposed building a structure entitled Cabine do Amor (Love-hut) where the viewer would enter and through gaps in the wooden structure, see images of bodies projected within another compartment. A fascination with the relation between inside and outside and an engagement with the viewer as active participant within the work become at this moment key issues for Antonio Manuel. According to the artist, the actual structure had already been constructed by Oiticica but Duarte’s other commitments disrupted the project. Antonio Manuel developed an alternative project that involved around 20 wooden boxes of simple construction each containing images, newspaper cut-outs, poems and slogans. As the boxes were sealed, their content could only be revealed through a destructive act. The artist was interested in the revelation of their content by the public but admits being surprised by the violence demonstrated towards these boxes. They were named Urnas-Quentes, which translate literally into English as Hot-Ballot-Boxes.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Antonio Manuel (Avelãs de Caminha, Portugal 1947 -), is one of Brazil’s most prominent conceptual artists alongside Hélio Oiticica and Cildo Meireles. Manuel was part of the brimming artistic neo-avant-guard movement that emerged in Rio de Janeiro during the second half of the twentieth century. Like many of his contemporaries he developed an experimental work that expanded the limits of traditional art practices, increasingly focusing on the body as a vehicle for his propositions as well as pre-existing images appropriated from the mass media. Americas Society’s fall 2011 exhibition, guest curated by Claudia Calirman, gathers documentation of Antonio Manuel’s radical performances and a number of seminal historical works characterized by a sense of experimentation and freedom and the willingness to take risks and to experiment without restrictions.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: Antonio Manuel, fall 2011 exhibition, Americas society, arts catalogue
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Americas Society
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Camberwell College of Arts
Research Centres/Networks > Transnational Art Identity and Nation (TrAIN)
Date: 2011
Related Websites: http://as.americas-society.org/areas.php?k=upcoming_exhibition
Related Websites:
Projects or Series: Research Outputs Review (April 2010 - April 2011)
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2012 10:14
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2012 10:14
Item ID: 4130
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/4130

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