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Phenomenological Openness

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This article undertakes a critical analysis of the central Neoconcrete theoretical text, Ferreira Gullar's 1959 Theory of the Non-Object. It historically accounts for its indebtedness to senior critic Mário Pedrosa's 1949 thesis on Gestalt theory and for the development of Gullar's ideas in the course of the critical debates apropos of abstract and Concrete art in the 1950s, and also challenges the supposedly neat correspondence between Gullar's formulations and the Neoconcrete artistic production it was supposed to read, emphasising its limits vis-à-vis the work of sculptor Amilcar de Castro. The Theory of the Non-Object is shown to rely on a double-bind: on the one hand, it undoubtedly formulates a radically open phenomenological model of interpretation, but, on the other, it also relies on a historicist reading of modern art that ultimately binds the concept of the non-object, even if negatively, to painterly paradigms.
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Keywords: Amilcar de Castro; Brazilian art; Concrete art; Ferreira Gullar; Gestalt theory; Mário Pedrosa; Neoconcretism; Theory of the Non-Object; abstract art; phenomenology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-01-01

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