Pintura No.223, 1950

Oil on wood
27 15/16 x 35 13/16 x 1 9/16 in. (71 x 91 x 4 cm.)

Contrapunto- Art and literature magazine published in Buenos Aires in 1944-45. It played a major role in spreading Europe’s literary, artistic and musical avant-gardes in Argentina. Raúl Lozza, Héctor René Lafleur, León Benarós, Arturo Cerretani, Roger Pla and Sigfrido Radaelli were some of its editors.

Arturo- Magazine published in 1944 by Tomás Maldonado, Édgar Bayley, Carmelo Arden Quin, Gyula Kosice, Rhod Rothfuss and Lidy Prati. Aggressively spirited in its desire to break up with the various trends of figurative art and to catch up with the times and with the international avant-garde, Arturo emerged as the foundational milestone of Argentina’s abstract-geometric and constructivist art. “Invention” and “irregular framework” stood out among the concepts that were featured in the magazine, and they exerted a substantial influence on the aesthetics and ideas of the groups that were to emerge as its successors, the Association of Concrete Art-Invention and Madí, since Arturo did not go beyond the first issue.

Madí– One of the spin-offs of the group that published the magazine Arturo, along with the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención. The movement was founded among others by Carmelo Arden Quin, Gyula Kosice, Rhod Rothfuss and Martín Blaszko, with an exhibition at the Van Riel Gallery (Buenos Aires) and with the launch of the Madí Manifesto (1946). They intended to overcome the lack of universality in concrete art by creating eternal objects with an absolute value, not just through the visual arts but also through music, dance and other art forms. A dispute among its leaders triggered a rift within the movement: Arden Quin went on to pursue further the spread of Madí art from Paris, while Kosice did the same around the Río de la Plata and published the magazine Arte Madí Universal (Universal Madí Art). Artists such as Antonio Llorens and Volf Roitman were also involved in the movement.

Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención- One of the spin-offs of the group that published the magazine Arturo, along with the Madí movement. The artists that rallied around this magazine had already shown their work under that name in 1945. However, the Association was only officially launched in 1946, with an exhibition at the Salón Peuser (Peuser Hall, Buenos Aires). With Tomás Maldonado as its main leader, supported among others by Alfredo Hlito, Lidy Prati, Raúl Lozza, Enio IommiManuel Espinoza and Juan Melé, the Association advocated art that was in line with scientific and technological progress and which prevailed over reality not by copying it but by inventing new objects instead. It restricted its scope strictly to the visual arts, design and architecture, in opposition to the multidisciplinary nature of the Madí movement.

Perceptismo- Movement founded in 1947 by Raúl Lozza, a spin-off from the Asociación Arte Concreto-Invención. A complex theoretical-practical system established its fundamental concepts: a colorful field, a context in which the work of art was inserted (ideally a wall, but for practical reasons this was replaced by a lacquered panel on which forms were set, with a certain separation that made them look as if they were floating). Such forms were generated from areas limited by the intersections of a system of centrifugal lines that crossed the colorful field (the so-called open structure). Finally, through calculations known as the qualimetry of flat forms, chromatic relations were established between the forms and the field.

After experiencing a difficult childhood, Raul Lozza settled with his brothers in Buenos Aires, in 1929. His interest in political and social matters, which inspired his writings and drawings as well as his militancy in the communist party, resulted in persecution and imprisonment. In the 1930s, he worked in illustration and advertising design developing a figurative style tending toward abstraction.

Between 1944 and 1945, Lozza was part of the group that published the magazine Contrapunto, which focused on visual arts and literature. He also had ties with the group that published the magazine Arturo, sharing with its members the need to revolutionize the visual arts, even though their proposals seemed ambiguous to him. When Arturo dissolved in 1945, giving birth to the Mad movement and the Asociacin Arte Concreto-Invencin, Lozza and his brothers joined the latter. In 1946, he subscribed to the manifiesto Invencionista and participated in the inaugural exhibition of the Association (Saln Peuser, Buenos Aires). His work of this period included geometric abstract paintings with irregular frames. In these works the fields of color were divided by black lines. Later, these fields became independent and separated, subtly or manifestly, although they remained on the same plane, following what is known as “coplanaridad,” one of the most important findings of Rio de La Plata’s concrete art.

Seeking to create works where forms are independent and resolve themselves in space, Lozza decided to break away from the Asociacin Arte Concreto in 1947, while the rest of the members chose to return to rectangular supports. That same year, along with the critic Abraham Haber and Lozza’s brother Rembrandt, he created the movement Perceptismo, whose objective was to produce true works of concrete art. Lozza created a theoretical-practical system for art that used physics and mathematics as fundamental concepts. Thus, he spoke of campo colorido, which was the context in which the artwork was installed, ideally a wall, but for practical reasons he also utilized enameled plates on which the forms were placed, with a certain separation that gave them a floating aspect. These forms were generated from areas delimited by the intersections of a system of centrifugal lines that crossed the colorful field (called estructura abierta). Finally, through his own calculations, he created a cualimetra de la forma plana (based on a table in which he classified more than 4,200 colors) that established chromatic relations between forms and fields.

In 1949, Lozza published perceptismo’s manifesto and presented the exhibition Raul Lozza: Primera Exposicion de arte perceptista (Galera Van Riel, Buenos Aires), which included mural-sized paintings. From the beginning of the movement, Lozza developed an intense campaign for the diffusion of perceptismo that included numerous theoretical writings and conferences at both the national and the international level, as well as the publication of the magazine Perceptismo (1950-1953).

During the following decades, Lozza dedicated himself to practicing and spreading perceptismo through solo exhibitions, including ones presented at the Museu de Arte Moderna (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1963), Cuarenta aos en el arte concreto (sesenta con la pintura), at the Fundacin San Telmo (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1985), and Retrospectiva 1939-1997, at the Museo de Arte Moderno (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1997). In Argentina, he was awarded the Premio Leonardo a la Trayectoria (Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1998) and the Premio Cultura Nacin (Secretara de Cultura de la Nacin, 2007).