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Authors: Carletti, Sabrina Lorena
Advisors: Doherty, Brigid
Nouzeilles, Gabriela
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Argentinian Literature
media studies
Subjects: Art history
Latin American studies
Latin American history
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: “Xul Solar and the Argentinian Avant-Garde: Body, Language, Technology, Sociability” concerns the work of the artist, writer, polyglot, and autodidact Xul Solar (Alejandro Schulz Solari, 1899–1963), whose singular position within the history of Argentinian art lies in his reformulation of his encounter with European modernisms in response to Argentina’s modernity. From his artistic experiments produced in Europe after he relocated from Argentina in 1912 to his death in 1963 in Buenos Aires, Xul—as he came to be known—explored the nature of representation across a range of media. Following Xul’s own terminology when urging fellow artists to combine several media in single artworks, the dissertation argues that the import of Xul’s experiments with language, painting, games, and systems of notation lies in their combinatorial nature, that is, in the way they show the artist pulling together symbols and sources from across space and time in a nonhierarchical way. Departing from accounts of Xul’s art as “outside of the schema of his time,” or as “odd” and “without continuity,” this study argues that Xul’s combinatorial approach resulted from his autodidacticism, which shaped his response to specific conditions of Argentina’s modernity. Through a close examination of artworks, Xul’s texts, the contemporary reception of his work, and literary, philosophical, political, pedagogical, and sociological writings, I demonstrate that the anachronism of Xul’s combinatorial practice permitted the artist to break with strict canonical distinctions between traditional media and pictorial genres as well as explore a range of formal and cultural possibilities unlike any other artist in Buenos Aires in his time. The project situates Xul’s work within a vibrant new culture of print and broadcast media and a robust cultural cosmopolitanism in Buenos Aires that resulted from migration of peoples from across the Atlantic and rural regions. Amidst these shifts, Xul’s work crossed borders between the pictorial, sonic, and linguistic, reconfiguring the relationship between painting, writing, and graphicness to engage problems of language and national identity. Xul did so as he grappled in his art with technological and pedagogical innovations that were giving rise to new models of reading and writing. In so doing, Xul proposed new modes of viewing art that invited the beholder to combine reading and looking practices in order to generate new forms of communication and sociability.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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