Completed PhD - Body/mind practices and creative process. The Japanese Gutai group and the Brazilian Post-Neoconcrete artists
My research consists of a comparative view between the work and creative processes of two avant-garde groups, whose activity developed contemporaneously from the 1950s to the 70s. The Gutai group in Japan and Post-Neoconcrete artists in Brazil have important affinities, namely the intent to use concrete experience to access creative potency, the absence of an artistic protocol, and the insertion of avant-garde procedures into a cultural background of transpersonal references. This last aspect places the individual in a continuum of body, mind and environment, but also preserves deeply rooted practices that bond the body/mind complex to a wider field of existence.
While allowing for the shared affinities of each group to be considered, a comparative view also aims to evaluate the outstanding characteristics of their practice in relation to European and North-American avant-garde producers of the time. In this, a significant characteristic of each group is the primacy of empirical, experimental processing over theoretical search or artistic statement, the actual bridging of body/mind/environment boundaries by means of a multi-sensory and trans-disciplinary approach to content (material, technologies, languages). The practical methodologies and intuitive methods of each group deploy experimental changes in the mode of being that, I argue, imply the achievement of a qualified dynamics of consciousness, brought forward throughout their artwork as archetypical content. Therefore, my research explores relevant coincidences between the avant-garde procedures of each group and the archaic contents that substantiate the articulation of processes of life and processes of art within their respective cultural backgrounds.
I was born in Teresópolis, in the mountains of Rio de Janeiro, the son of British missionaries. After twenty years in Brazil I came to England to study engineering but fortunately to myself (and others) changed course and went on to complete an MA in The Study of Contemporary Art at Liverpool University and a PhD in the History and Theory of Art at The London Institute (now UAL).
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