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UAL Research Online

Tracing Hybrid Strategies in Brazilian Modern Art

Asbury, Michael (2003) Tracing Hybrid Strategies in Brazilian Modern Art. In: Critical Perspectives on Contemporary Painting. Tate Gallery Liverpool and University of Liverpool Press, Liverpool, pp. 139-170. ISBN 0853239584

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Asbury, Michael

This essay was the result of a conference held at Tate Gallery Liverpool, that ran in conjunction with an exhibition curated by Simon Wallis that focused on current practices in painting that could be described formally, historically or conceptually as hybrid. My essay developed the conference paper analysing the history of the term, its problematic use within the field of contemporary art, alternatives to it such as that of syncretism, and how such issues relate to the development of painting within Brazilian art during the 20th century.

It begins with the analysis of the 1920s search for a national modern art that would culminate in the development of the notion of Anthropophagy – a critical digestion of the culture of the other. Here a parallel is suggested between this process and the concurrent Rappel à l’Ordre wave of nationalist and classicist ‘purification’ of the cubist legacy.

The essay later discusses the distinct context of the 1960s when in Brazil Anthropophagy re-emerged as a powerful cultural currency faced with the advent of North American mass culture and the collapse of the national utopian constructivist ideals. The essay concludes with the unmasking of a centain Eurocentric view of contemporary art produced in Brazil, via an analysis of the painting of Beatriz Milhazes. It is argued that the surface of her pictures fools the viewer into believing his/her preconceptions of the place.

The Brazilian expression ‘For the English to see’ is evoked as the painting purports to be something it is not, in a siimilar manner in which the Portuguese fooled the British by disguising slave ships.

Official Website: http://www.liverpool-unipress.co.uk/html/categoryinfo.asp?idCategory=52
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Current Research
My research contributes to the ongoing debate on strategies for rewriting the history of so-called 'peripheral cultures'. Recent debate on curatorial practice for example, has focused on the problems that exhibitions have in escaping the essentialising processes that they have traditionally imposed upon other national creative productions. On the one hand, such a focus has been a positive consequence of the emergence of such issues within the academic field of cultural, historical and postcolonial studies. On the other hand, the increased attention to such histories and practices has also brought with it attitudes towards display that inscribe themselves within a 'rhetoric of universal inclusion': a 'politically correct' move that promotes the ideal of multiculturalism by maintaining such production isolated in its difference. The strategy I have adopted as both curator and art historian operates within the context of both national and international modern art movements. Its methodology is based on the investigation of shifts in the interpretation and presentation of both visual and written work. This generally includes comparative enquiries into the work's reception inside and outside national borders. The intention is to create a platform for an art historical discussion that incorporates international cultural phenomena without dismissing the particularities of local histories.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Tate Gallery Liverpool and University of Liverpool Press
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: 2003
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2009 12:50
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2010 10:57
Item ID: 832
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/832

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