Antonio Berni: “The Saga of Juanito Laguna” .-
Antonio Berni was born in Rosario in 1905 and died in Buenos Aires in 1981. For sixty years he devoted himself to painting becoming one of the most important artists in Argentina and Latin America. He was a painter, engraver, draftsman, muralist, illustrator, made objects and installations. In 1925, the Jockey Club of Rosario awarded Berni a scholarship to study in Europe. He settled in Paris and some trips through Spain, Italy, Holland and Belgium allowed him to see museums, artists and works of art history that are influencing his work. For example, in Italy, he studied the Renaissance masters of the fifteenth century and travelled through cities such as Florence visiting his churches, palaces and museums. Berni restless is constantly finding encouragement for their own works. The main discovery for Berni in those years was the relationship between art and politics, the role of the artist as a man of his time and as a social actor. Berni approaches communism and from his interest in politics, he assumes the commitment to reflect in his paintings the reality of the world that he has to live. Since then, for him, the painting will be his way of reflecting on reality and trying to transform the marginal world of workers. At the same time, he knows one of the most important artistic vanguards of that time: surrealism, and adheres for a few years to his postulates. This responsibility of the artist as the protagonist of his time is a position that Berni shares with other artists in Latin America, especially with the famous Mexican muralists. Precisely, in 1933, one of them, David Alfaro Siqueiros, visited Argentina, with whom Berni works and discusses the role of art in the revolution of the popular classes. The last ruptures of modernity will be the clean squeeze to break into the sixties, at 55 years of age.
The Saga of Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel will serve as a narrative excuse for retaking social criticism with an image that calls for the influx of various plastic currents of the time: informalism, pop, new figuration and expressionist realism. Since the early sixties, Antonio Bemi has been working on a new series.
The works dedicated to Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel, two characters invented by him to use them as symbols of childhood exploited in Latin America, especially in large cities such as Buenos Aires, Lima, Rio de Janeiro and Mexico. It is about two inhabitants of the misery villages.
Juanito Laguna is a boy who lives in one of those shantytowns and Berni paints his daily life, his games, his family: Juanito watching television, Juanito climbing his kite, Juanito in the lagoon, Juanito at Christmas, Juanito going to the city, Juanito taking the food to his metallurgical worker father.
For these works, Berni uses a technique invented at the beginning of the century: the collage, the addition to the painting of real materials that are glued on the painting.
The artist uses an abundant collage transforming his images into surfaces loaded with elements such as cans, plastics, irons, woods, fabrics, shoes, toys, papers, traffic signs, etc.
The idea is to incorporate the waste that the artist collects in the marginal neighbourhoods of Buenos Aires where the protagonists could live. With this cycle, Antonio Bemi developed until the eighties, one of the most original chapters in the history of art.-
♠Antonio Berni: “La Saga de Juanito Laguna”:
Antonio Berni (1905/1981).-
Antonio Berni nació en Rosario en 1905 y murió en Buenos Aires en 1981. Durante sesenta años se dedicó a la pintura convirtiéndose en uno de los artistas más importantes de la Argentina y de América latina. Fue pintor, grabador, dibujante, muralista, ilustrador, realizó objetos e instalaciones. En 1925, el Jockey Club de Rosario le otorgó al joven Berni una beca para estudiar en Europa. Se instaló en París y algunos viajes por España, Italia, Holanda y Bélgica le permitieron conocer museos, artistas y obras de la historia del arte que van influenciando sus trabajos. Por ejemplo, en Italia estudia a los maestros del Renacimiento del siglo XV y viaja por ciudades como Florencia visitando sus iglesias, palacios y museos. Berni inquieto va encontrando constantemente estímulos para sus propias obras. El principal descubrimiento para Berni en esos años fue…
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