Antonio Benetazzo, Survival of the Senses — Part II

Instituto Vladimir Herzog

Studies in Ink and Politically Engaged Artworks

Studies in Ink and Politically Engaged Artworks
In Benetazzo's early period, especially up until 1967, his creative process was mostly split between at least 2 aesthetic choices, namely his politically engaged artworks and his formal abstract studies.

By 1967, as he was grappling with different creative processes, his aesthetic experience had definitively forked in 2 directions and, like exclusive poles, these would create a tension in his art.

As he experimented in his search for a delicate finesse associated with aesthetic purity, some of his work, such as the Wassily Kandinsky-inspired ink drawings, focused on abstract forms.

In these pieces, any mention of the historical context disappears, making way for a formal study that is clearly removed from his political activism and his figurative portrayals.

As he alternated between portraying the immanence of forms and recent historical events, the various techniques Benetazzo used made his work a kind of interaction between strangers.

As a developing artist who was being increasingly drawn towards the armed struggle against the dictatorship, he felt the need to play his part in the resistance movement through explicitly political creations.

Seeking to communicate with the public, he created functional and engaged pieces in which his criticism of Brazil emerged through an entirely figurative composition. This option, however, did not seem to satisfy Benetazzo.

"Gestação dos monstros" (Gestation of Monsters) and "Brazil 68": from the Grotesque to the Abject
Between 1968 and 1969, as he was becoming increasingly involved in the resistance to the dictatorship, Benetazzo created 2 series of ink drawings on paper, both of which would have a huge impact.

The first series, originally with no title but which we will call "Gestação dos Monstros" (Gestation of Monsters), shows one of the more distinctive aspects of Benetazzo's creative work: the shift between figurative and abstract elements.

The composition of the first 4 drawings is abstract, with subtle pen strokes revealing a repulsive creature about to hatch from a kind of egg.

Drawn at a time when political persecution was on the increase in Brazil, this set of works was structured as a narrative sequence and numbered from 1 to 8.

Rogério Sottili, executive director of the Vladimir Herzog Institute, tells his impressions of the exhibition "Antonio Benetazzo, Survival of the Senses", presented by curator Reinaldo Cardenuto.

The last 4 drawings, in dialog with Goya's engravings, focus on figurative elements and show a deformed creature with a twisted body being born, allegorically announcing its cancerous presence among mankind.

The impression of malaise, reinforced by the historical period when these pieces were created, is amplified further in the artist's next series of ink drawings, entitled "Brazil 68."

Containing approximately 9 pieces, this second series shows new terrifying creatures emerging.

If the creation of the grotesque originated in the works included in Gestation of Monsters, the same grotesqueness, now portrayed as various bodies, is shown spreading all around the world in the "Brazil 68" series.

Credits: Story

"Antonio Benetazzo, permanências do sensível" (Antonio Benetazzo, survival of the senses) Exhibition Presented by São Paulo City Hall—Municipal Department for Human Rights and Citizenship Department Head | Eloisa Arruda Deputy Head | Yara Cunha Costa Chief of Staff | Eduardo Barbin Barbosa Coordinator for the Right to Memory and Truth | Rogério Wagner da Silva Leite e Marina Molina Production Vladimir Herzog Institute Executive director | Rogério Sottili Special Project Coordinator | Carla Borges Communications | Carolina Vilaverde Curation, organization, research and text Reinaldo Cardenuto Adaptation Carolina Vilaverde "Entre Imagens (Intervalos)" (Between Images (Intervals)) documentary Andre Fratti Costa e Reinaldo Cardenuto Special acknowledgements Alipio Freire, Celso Nucci, Cida Horta, Daniel Fresnot, Eliana Ferreira de Assis, Ermínia Maricatto, Itália Benetazzo, Nordana Benetazzo, Luiz Carlos Poloni, Zuleika Alvim. Acknowledgements Ana Corbisier, André Luiz Rafaini Lopes, Anivaldo Padilha, Anna Ferrari, Ariana Iara de Paula, Arquivo Público do Município de Caraguatatuba, Carlos Augusto Calil, Celso Sim, Centro Cultural da Juventude, Centro Cultural São Paulo, Centro de Formação Cultural Cidade Tiradentes, Clara Rossi Ferreira, Claudio Tozzi, Comissão da Memória e Verdade da Prefeitura de São Paulo, Comissão de Familiares de Mortos e Desaparecidos Políticos, Comitê Paulista pela Memória, Verdade e Justiça, Eduardo Oikawa, Equipe SMDHC, Equipe SMC, Eugênia Gonzaga, Eva Soban, Francisco Ramalho Jr., Grupo de Trabalho pelo Direito à Memória e à Verdade (GT-DMV), Imprensa Oficial do Estado S/A - IMESP, Ivan Seixas, Ivany Turíbio, Ivo Herzog, José Luiz Del Roio, Luiz Fernando Manini, Marcelo Godoy, Maria Aparecida Horta, Maria Eunice Paschoal Homem de Melo, Maria Rita Kehl, Mariana Rosell, Mario Prata, Nabil Bonduki, Paulo de Tarso Venceslau, Paulo Schlick, Paulo Reis, Renato Martinelli, Ricardo Ohtake, Ricardo Scardoelli, Roaldo Fachini, Rogério Sottili, Rose Mary Teles Souza, Samuel Ribeiro Jr., Sérgio Ferro, Sérgio Muniz, Suzana Lisboa, Thiago Carrapatoso, Toshio Kawamura, Valdirene Gomes, Valéria Barbosa Paganelli. Original exhibition designed and presented by São Paulo City Hall—Mayor 2013–2016 - Fernando Haddad Municipal Department for Human Rights and Citizenship Department Head | Rogério Sottili e Eduardo Matarazzo Suplicy Coordinator for the Right to Memory and Truth Carla Borges, Clara Castellano, Dyego Oliveira, Marília (Marie) Goulart, Fábio Luis Franco, Gabriela Monico, Naomi Xavier, Marina Molina, Tomaz Seincman, Victhor Fabiano.

Credits: All media
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