Willys de Castro

27.03 – 30.04 / 2015

Multiple Synthesis

The Willys de Castro – Múltipla Síntese(Multiple Synthesis) show charts the cult multidisciplinary artist´s career.


The Almeida & Dale Gallery presents, from 26 March to 30 April, the Willys de Castro – Múltipla Síntese (Multiple Synthesis) exhibition. Curated by Denise Mattar, this show comprises 35 works from different phases, revealing the trajectory of one of the most intriguing Brazilian artists.

Willys de Castro fully embraced the ideal of the post-war vanguard, producing a true synthesis of the arts. Best known for his visual arts, he also worked with music, poetry, design, scenography, costume and attained excellence in all of these activities.

The exhibit highlights the multiplicity of the artist and includes rare works done between 1949 and 1952, in which figuration is interwoven in a superposition of colors and geometric rhythms. It also presents a group of works produced between 1956 and 1958 in which the artist, deeply engaged with Concretism, created works with rigorous structure, pure colors, orthogonal planes, optical effects and elements of graphic design.

The devising of Active Objects is the juncture at which Willys de Castro gained recognition as one of the most innovative Brazilian artists, and currently attracts the attention of international critics for his originality and innovativeness. The Active Objects on display include the work belonging to the Museum of Art of São Paulo (MASP) which, dated 1959, constitutes one of the most significant artworks of the period.

Willys de Castro – Multiple Synthesis also boasts other works, such as the poster-poem from the 1960s; preparatory studies, allowing viewers to follow the complexity of the artists thought process; and the song Policromos, composed by Willys de Castro in 1951. Pluriobjects completes the exhibition, which the artists made from metal in the 1970s and 1980s, and that took the experiences of the Active Objects a step further.

The best definition for Active Objects, which embodies the paradoxical concept of Multiple Synthesis conceived by the curator was provided by the artist himself and extends to all his work:

“A work, realized with space and its happening, that when penetrating the world, disturbs it and emerges triggers a torrent of perceptive and significant phenomena with numerous new revelations, hitherto absent in this same space.(…) Containing events within its own time – started, elapsed, finished, restarted etc.  – and manifested clear, fluently and indefinitely on the spot, it establishes itself in the world like an instrument that speaks to itself.”


About the artist

Graduated in Chemistry, Willys de Castro (Uberlândia MG 1926 - São Paulo SP 1988) worked as a technical illustrator and began painting in 1948, soon showing an interest in abstraction. In 1954 he set up the Estúdio de Projetos Gráficos together with Hercules Barsotti, where he worked for 10 years and established a new visuality in Brazilian graphic design. He worked as a costume and set designer for the Arena Theater and the Art Culture Theater and in 1957 received the Paulista Association of Theater Critics award. He took part  and acted as Baritone in the Ars Nova movement, conducted by maestro Diogo Pacheco, who was dedicated to disseminating less known music – both classical and contemporary. In 1957, in something of a first, Willys de Castro produced the verbalization scores for the concrete poems of Augusto and Haroldo de Campos, Ferreira Gullar and Décio Pignatari, presented by Ars Nova at the Brazilian Theater of Comedy during the 1st Recital of Concrete Poetry in Brazil. He joined the Rio neoconcrete movement in 1958 and surprised the art circuit with his Active Objects which broke with the two-dimensional surface of the canvas as a support for paintings. He took part in the Konkrete Kunst show organized by Max Bill in Zurich, in 1960. He was one of the founders of the Brazilian Association of Industrial Design and of the Arte Novas Tendências Gallery of which São Paulo concrete artists were a part, from 1963. Between 1966 and 1967 he designed print patterns for textiles and from the 1970s experimented with metal and wood creating Pluriobjects.

Rua Caconde 152

01425 – 010 São Paulo, Brazil

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