What is Neo-Concretism?

The Neo-Concrete Movement (1959–61) was a Brazilian art movement, a group that splintered off from the larger Concrete Art movement prevalent in Latin America and in other parts of the world. The Neo-Concretes emerged from Rio de Janeiro’s Grupo Frente. They rejected the pure rationalist approach of concrete art and embraced more phenomenological art. The Neo-Concrete movement called for greater sensuality, color, and poetic feeling in concrete art, distinguishing itself from the more rigid approach of the original Concrete Art movement.[1] Ferreira Gullar inspired Neo-Concrete philosophy through his essay “Theory of the Non-Object” (1959) and wrote the “Neo-Concrete Manifesto” (1959) which outlines what Neo-Concrete art should be. Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, and Lygia Pape were among the primary leaders of this movement.

Beyond the Basics

While the core principles outlined in the previous glossary remain, let's delve deeper into the heart of Neo-Concretism:

Breaking the Frame: Neo-Concretism wasn't just about changing the art; it challenged the very way we experience it. Paintings stepped off the canvas, sculptures interacted with the body, and installations transformed spaces. Imagine walking through Oiticica's "Penetrables," vibrant labyrinths that enveloped your senses, or donning Clark's "Bichos," wearable sculptures that morphed with your movement.

Sensory Symphony: Forget passive observation. Neo-Concretism demanded active participation. Textures whispered against your skin, light played with your perception, and sounds resonated within the artwork. Pape's "Divisor," a suspended mobile, tinkled softly, inviting viewers to set it in motion, while Clark's "Treme," a hanging structure, swayed with your touch, creating a mesmerizing interplay of light and shadow.

Time and Space Unbound: Neo-Concretism rejected the static nature of art. Installations like Oiticica's "Metaesquema" evolved over time, audiences became part of the artwork, and the lines between art and environment blurred. Imagine entering a room where the walls themselves pulsated with color, or where light projections danced across your body, creating an ever-changing experience.


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