The Historical Archive of Contemporary Art, by Wanda Svevo – Diário do Povo, 18/01/1959
“Established between the 2nd and 3rd Bienal de São Paulo, or rather, at the beginning of 1955 […] the idea of the Archive arose from a fact, or better, from a very simple need: that of encountering a precedent information about the artistic past of an exhibitor. Each exhibition creates a paper trail: catalogues, bulletins, books, photographs, correspondence – that constitute the documentation of the exhibition and the artist. With the exhibition doors closed, this documentation has to find a place where it can still play the role of life-bringer, remaining useful to those who require it – and at the limits of its range, fulfill its function.
From an organizational point of view, the Archive, once it is established that the artist’s personality will become the nucleus around which the archive expands – began to come into contact with a larger number of national and foreign artists […] Forms were sent out […] that were to be completed and returned along with photographs, catalogues, notes, critical texts and biographies, in other words anything that might contribute to illustrating the artistic personality and professional activity. This alphabetically ordered material is supplemented with all prior information that has arrived in the Archive, even simple news stories that newspapers and magazines publish about an artist.”
It was from this point on that one of the richest elements of the Archive collection came to be: “artists’s files and art themes” which incorporates more than 18,000 folders. So far this includes some of the artists we’ve already discussed in the blog: Cildo Meireles, Jeff Koons, Keith Haring, Pablo Picasso, Walter Gropius, Edward Hopper, John Cage, Alexander Pilis, Armando Reverón.
Next week we shall begin a short series of dossier of some of the artists present at the 30th Bienal who have already participated in previous editions. Don’t miss it!