Suzana Vaz

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.

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