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A crítica de arte hoje

ferreira gullar – 14/06/2015

Como fica a atividade do crítico de arte, hoje, quando a expressão predominante no terreno das artes plásticas, intitulada arte contemporânea, não mais se vale da linguagem artística (pictórica, escultórica, gráfica) e, muitas vezes, nem do ato de fazer a obra?

Pertenço a uma geração de críticos herdeira de personalidades notáveis da moderna crítica de arte, como Lionello Venturi, Giulio Carlo Argan, Herbert Read e o brasileiro Mário Pedrosa, entre muitos outros, que contribuíram para a compreensão da criação artística, tanto da atualidade quanto do passado.

A nossa geração enfrentaria, em função das mudanças ocorridas no terreno das artes, a crise que inevitavelmente se estendeu ao plano da reflexão estética.

Quem teve, como eu, a sorte de viver e atuar nos anos de 1950 a 1960, lembra da importância que tinha, naquela época, a discussão dos problemas estéticos, das novas ideias e das propostas que eram formuladas então.

A consequência dessa efervescência cultural se refletia no interesse da imprensa pelo que acontecia no terreno das artes plásticas e que se concretizava nas colunas de noticiário e apreciação crítica, presentes em todos os jornais e revistas importantes.

Mário Pedrosa, Flávio de Aquino, Mário Barata, Antônio Bento e Quirino Campofiorito, entre outros, assinavam aquelas colunas.

Foi na década de 1950 que se deu a grande ruptura na arte brasileira com o surgimento do concretismo.

Tratava-se de fato de duas concepções artísticas antagônicas: de um lado, a arte figurativa, representada por Portinari, Di Cavalcanti, Guignard, Pancetti –de uma forma ou de outra continuadores do modernismo brasileiro, essencialmente figurativo–, de outro, uma arte geométrica, despojada de qualquer referência do mundo real e às expressões de caráter regional ou nacional.

Esse debate incendiou os meios de comunicação, com a publicação de entrevistas e artigos polêmicos. Tudo isso resultava naturalmente do trabalho inovador dos artistas, que se estenderia por três décadas, pelo menos, ampliadas com o surgimento do movimento neoconcreto, que veio introduzir novas propostas inusitadas, já não apenas no plano nacional, mas também no plano internacional.

Dentro do próprio neoconcretismo se deu uma diferenciação –sem que isso fosse explicitado teoricamente– entre o que produziam Franz Weissmann, Amílcar de Castro, Aluísio Carvão, Lygia Clark e Hélio Oiticica, que levaram mais adiante a ruptura com a linguagem geométrica e a própria pintura. Esse novo caminho, que a própria Lygia afirmava não ser mais arte, antecipou, de certo modo, em alguns aspectos, o que seria chamado mais tarde de arte contemporânea.

Mas havia uma diferença: é que os trabalhos da Lygia e do Hélio, embora rompendo com a linguagem então adotada pelos artistas, eram produtos de seu fazer e de sua criatividade. Não eram “ready-mades”.

Lygia, por entender que aqueles trabalhos não cabiam mais no conceito de arte, atribui-lhes uma outra função –a função terapêutica, de libertação do superego. Naturalmente, tendo esse propósito, escapava ao juízo da crítica de arte.

Já as manifestações da arte contemporânea, que não se atribuem aquela função, se também escapam ao juízo da crítica é por outra razão: pelo fato de que não elaboram uma linguagem, pois partem do princípio duchampiano de que “será arte tudo o que eu disser que é arte”.

Se é verdade que o importante é a obra de arte, muito mais que a crítica em si, deve-se admitir que ela integra o processo criador, uma vez que o próprio artista a exerce enquanto cria.

A crítica realizada pelo crítico é, certamente, diferente, mas faz parte do processo artístico, na relação da obra com o espectador e como fator de inserção da obra no contexto cultural.

Há de se considerar, porém, que para que isso aconteça é necessário que a obra exista enquanto linguagem, objetivamente apreendida e avaliada.

Uma arte que não se rege por qualquer princípio, e não é fruto do trabalho elaborador de uma linguagem, não pode ser analisada e nem ser objeto de qualquer juízo de valor, ou seja, de qualquer juízo crítico. Talvez por isso, a crítica militante não exista mais.

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Para quem gosta de sugestões

Best books of 2014

Award-winning authors, FT editors and columnist on the titles to remember this year

 

Lionel Barber

Editor of the Financial Times

Creativity, Inc , by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace (Bantam/Random House), is a great book for anyone interested in inspiring and managing creative talent. Catmull, a PhD student from the University of Utah, nurtured the dream of making the first computer-animated movie. That dream translated into Pixar, the Oscar-winning California studio later acquired by Steve Jobs and Disney. Creativity, Inc – a finalist for FT/McKinsey Business Book of the Year – explains the failures, the tensions and the ultimate accolades from Finding Nemo to Toy Story.

 

Helen Macdonald

Author of ‘H is for Hawk’, winner of the 2014 Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction

To Richard Kerridge, British reptiles and amphibians are creatures as exciting, strange and savage as any African lion. I loved his Cold Blood: Adventures with Reptiles and Amphibians (Jonathan Cape). It is not just a deeply informed natural history of these denizens of our countryside, but a paean to the small, the unloved, the forgotten and overlooked, all tangled up in a beguiling memoir of childhood, obsession and family life. Moving, careful, humane and beautifully written, it’s a book impossible to read without falling a little in love with the author and his scaly and web-toed subjects.

 

Lucy Kellaway

FT columnist

Anybody who has an elderly parent must read Atul Gawande’s Being Mortal: Illness, Medicine and What Matters in the End (Profile/Metropolitan). So must anyone who plans one day on becoming old themselves. The surgeon and writer forces us to look at mortality unflinchingly, telling us what is wrong with how we treat the old and dying – we revere their safety and we prolong life when it is cruel to do so – as well as explaining how we could do it better. He tells the story of awful deaths and better ones, including that of his own beloved father, without clichés, sentimentality or evasion. It is predictably grim; what is less predictable is that Gawande’s wisdom and humanity make its final message an uplifting one.

 

Martin Amis

Author of ‘The Zone of Interest’ (Cape/Knopf)

Lawrence Wright has become a formidable technician of synthesis and narrative. After The Looming Tower(the story of September 11) and Going Clear (on the scientology racket), he has now produced the wonderfully readable Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David(Oneworld/Knopf). The peace treaty goes on seeming wholly unattainable right up until the three men unscrew their fountain pens in the White House. Yet they signed, and the peace has held for 36 years.

Clive James’s Poetry Notebook (Picador/Liveright) reintroduced me to the intense pleasures of close reading. Although he has some hard – and funny – things to say about Ezra Pound, James is firmly committed to celebration. He reminds us that poetry is, or can be, “the most exciting thing in the world”. And this is what literary criticism, and literary pedagogy, should aim for: not to add a further encrustation of complexity, but simply to instil the readerly habits of gratitude and awe.

 

David Mitchell

Author of ‘The Bone Clocks’ (Sceptre/Random House)

My favourite book of 2014 is Michel Faber’s novel The Book of Strange New Things (Canongate/Hogarth), about a Christian chaplain in the near future sent to a planet called Oasis; about his wife back on an Earth suffering economic and ecological collapse; about faith and its limits, love and its limits, neocapitalism and its endgame, and cultural relativism and its paradoxes. It is brainy, driven, funny, dark, idiosyncratic. Yes, The Book of Strange New Things is science fiction; yes, it’s literature; yes, writing this good illuminates life.

 

Caroline Daniel

Editor of FT Weekend

I admit. I am one of those devoted fans of Haruki Murakami. His latest book,Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Harvill Secker/ Knopf), features a main character who is stalled, inert, made calm by trains running on time. Within pages, you are claustrophobically aware of how far he has stepped from his childhood self, fully alive in the company of his four closest friends; now he is sidetracked in a different, smaller life. A nascent relationship forces him to follow the threads of his own past, beginning a journey through friendships, love, jealousy, sexual awakening and ambivalence, with just enough surreal dream projections to keep it unbalanced.

 

Karl Ove Knausgaard

Author of ‘Boyhood Island: My Struggle Book 3’ (Vintage/Archipelago)

The Austrian Peter Handke, no doubt one of the best and most influential authors in European literature of the past five decades, is back again with another masterpiece, the beautiful Storm Still (Seagull Books). It’s about history, family, language, war, life and death, and it’s done with such skill, originality, simplicity and insight that I want to cry, with joy and with sorrow – and with envy!

Diary of the Fall by Michel Laub (Harvill Secker/Other Press) is another extraordinary book from 2014, as sharp as it is moving. I’ll never forget the grandfather’s rewriting of his life, from what it really was to what it should have been. In my world, this novel is already a classic.

 

Alan Johnson

MP and author of ‘Please, Mister Postman’ (Bantam Press)

Alison Light’s Common People: The History of an English Family (Fig Tree) was a revelation. Given the huge popularity of genealogy reflected in the success of TV programmes like Who Do You Think You Are? there’s bound to be an audience for this book. But this is no populist hobby manual. Light sets out to trace the lives of the virtually untraceable and in doing so uncovers the rich history of people who had no material wealth at all and therefore nothing to hand down to the genealogists.

 

Elena Ferrante

Author of ‘Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay’ (Europa Editions)

The only book that I read this year in English is The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury/Vintage). I had never read anything of hers, and it was a wonderful surprise. Lahiri skilfully shapes the political aspect of her story, effectively conveys the collision of two worlds, and vividly describes campus life in the United States. But what in my view makes the book memorable is the character of Gauri. In Italy the novel was titled La moglie – “The Wife”. It’s one of those rare cases where the publisher’s commercially driven decision to use an alternative title actually serves to call readers’ attention to a great literary accomplishment.

 

 

Your book of the year

Do you agree with our choices? Tell us about your favourite book of 2014 and you could win a year’s free FT Weekend digital subscription.

All you have to do is email mybookoftheyear@ft.com by December 15 with the title and author of the book you liked most and, in 100 words or less, explain your choice. Please include your name and address.

We will publish a selection of entries, including the winner. Books must have been published – in the UK or US – after January 1 2014