Naive artists of brazil: the colors of the meanings

Danilo Santos de Miranda

Regional Director of SESC São Paulo

In modernist Paris at the beginning of the twentieth century, the term naïf [naive] assumed increasing relevance in the field of the arts. When art was freed from the strict conditioning of museums and galleries, other artworks made by artists without academic training began to be appreciated. This thinking found its echo in Brazil, beginning in the 1920s, opening up a greater dialog between the universes of so-called erudite and popular art.

Today, nearly 100 years after this context, in a world teeming with new technologies, it is relevant to ask what possible meanings the word “naive” can have in an era saturated with an excess of information. We call attention to the fact that art is perhaps the form of expression that best portrays – often nearly predicting – the human’s altered perceptions of a constantly changing world.

The permutation of meaning between popular and erudite culture takes on current colors that allow for the inclusion of new tones. Other artistic solutions are sought as reflections of a world in which the rural is giving way to the urban, while maintaining its codes and imaginative force in spontaneously produced art. In this sense, art stimulates our sensibility, allowing us to ask what type of society we wish to reflect – and sometimes to question.

Without the need of recurring to reductive categories, such as the “popular art/erudite art” opposition, the 10th edition of the Biennial of Naive Artists of Brazil – an initiative by SESC São Paulo – is an event that promotes a discussion about this popular manifestation and its possible significations.

The exhibition’s aim of furthering the education of the gaze, in the perceptual and emotional territories furnished by art, reaffirms SESC São Paulo’s commitment to undertaking and encouraging cultural projects that foster the exercise of aesthetic appreciation, thought, and social transformation. The addition of colors to the palate of the visual imaginary reiterates an aesthetic awareness that allows us to perceive the symbolic contents inherent to the collective, which emanate from art and invite us for a flight in search of varied interpretations.

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