THE CRYSTAL . PAULO HERKENHOFF

“Over nearly five decades of artistic output, Ascânio Maria Monteiro Martins has created a carefully crafted body of work – transparent in its poetry and firm in its constructive logic – that secures him a place in the Latin American history of geometric abstraction. This has been his unique praxis. Ascânio has never created a figurative piece. From his first work, in 1964, he has consistently reiterated his constructive choice through the ongoing process of invention of visual problems and experimentation with new materials. Ascânio’s place in the world of Concrete art, the cultural aspects of his Portuguese roots, his training, the effort to create a language and its material signs, his phenomenological and symbolic propositions, his role in the historical process of Brazilian art, particularly as part of the MAM Generation, the scope of his production, his aesthetics, the poetry and meaning of his work; the constructive will and the architectonic and political bias of his sculpture in the context of the social issue of housing, the dialectical and political substrata of his forms and the mathematical unconscious – these are all issues that fascinate this historian. Understanding the dialectical dimension of Ascânio’s work is similar in nature to understanding the “psychology of the scientific spirit”- an expression coined by Gaston Bachelard – and experiencing the strange geometric split personality that emerged over the last century and a half of mathematical culture. However, unlike the mathematician, Ascânio MMM does not suppress his intuition (or sublimate his experience). His Bachelardian challenge has always been one to realize the conversion of rational reality into experimental poetry.”

 

“The crystal”. In: Ascânio MMM: The Poetics of Reason. São Paulo: BEI Comunicação, 2015, p. 7

 

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