Décio Pignatari - In Art Matters What is No

22 Nov 2017 – 20 Dec 2017

Event times

Mon - Fri, 10am to 7pm; Sat, 11am to 6pm
Visiting hours: November 22 through December 20, 2017

Cost of entry


Galeria Millan

São Paulo
São Paulo, Brazil


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Curated by João Bandeira, the show highlights the artistic production of the poet through fifty works produced between 1950s and 2000s.


Galeria Millan will hold, from November 22 through December 20, 2017, the exhibition Décio Pignatari – Na Arte Interessa O Que Não [In Art Matters What is Not], curated by João Bandeira. The uniqueness of the show is characterized by the presentation of a majority of lesser-known works, including some that were long out of circulation, produced between the 1950s and the 2000s, without leaving out examples of the classics by Décio Pignatari in a selection featuring around fifty works.

Also displayed are original manuscripts and typed writings, letters, photographs and other documents, some of them never seen publicly, as well as audio and audiovisual material. The exhibition, which occupies both floors of the gallery, proposes to give a concise but multifaceted panorama of Pignatari's artistic production, which extends the understanding of his work beyond his recognition as one of the founders of concrete poetry, alongside the brothers Augusto and Haroldo de Campos.

Over more than half a century of activity in Brazil's cultural milieu, Décio Pignatari  explored not only the semantic dimension in his works, but also the aural and especially the visual language. A key name in Brazilian visual poetry, he was known for his creative restlessness; he also wrote plays, short stories and a novel––which were always highly experimental––as well as a series of texts in the areas of semiotics and communication theory.

Part of his rich artistic production can be seen at the exhibition, including period-original poems such as Terra (1958) and the iconic Beba Coca-Cola (in a serigraphic version signed by Décio in 1991), as well as works like Pelé and Agora, from the series Poemas Semióticos (1964) and a facsimile print of Cr$isto é a Solução (1967)––which visitors can take home–– that dialogue closely with the country's current context. Amidst a variety of techniques and mediums––prints in offset and silkscreen, objects, audio recordings and others––visitors will have access to two important book-poems, Life (1958) and Organismo (1960), available in replicas that can be touched in the exhibition space.

The curator, João Bandeira, considers Décio Pignatari's work as being "like a continent that is still not well-known." He adds:  "Décio's work alongside the Campos brothers in the creation of concrete poetry in the 1950s, and the discussion on what he took up with them is, undoubtedly, a fundamental inheritance. But the originality and breadth of his production does not end there. He had a courage for taking risks that I find admirable. In addition to the "Décio language designer" in that best-known Swiss standard, there is also the "Décio udigrudi," who exchanged ideas with people like Hélio Oiticica and Júlio Bressane, and created the priceless ‘Marda – Movimento de Arregimentação Radical em Defesa da Arte’ with Rogério Duprat, governed by the most acidic irreverence, which resulted in screenplays for photo-comics and things like happenings to the jingle Brazil, My Mother (from 1970), which, incidentally, will also be in this exhibition at Galeria Millan."

Décio Pignatari (Jundiaí, 1927 – São Paulo, 2012) was a poet, translator, semioticist, essayist and professor. His first published poems appeared in São Paulo newspapers and in the magazine Revista de Novíssimos, in 1949. The following year, he published the book of poems Carrossel, and in 1952 created the Noigandres group with the brothers Haroldo and Augusto de Campos. In 1956, he participated in the National Exhibition of Concrete Art at the Museum of Modern Art in São Paulo. In 1958, he was one of the authors of the Pilot Plan for Concrete Poetry manifesto, and in 1960, he was on the team of Invenção, which published a weekly column in Correio Paulistano, the embryo of the avant-garde magazine of the same name for which Décio would be the director. He was a columnist at Folha de S. Paulo and a collaborator at several other newspapers in the cities of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In 1986, he published the collection of short stories O Rosto da Memória, in 1992, the novel Panteros, and in 2000, the volume of memoiristic prose Errâncias. He also wrote the plays Céu de Lona (2003) and Viagem Magnética (2007). In dialog with Umberto Eco, Roman Jakobson, Pierre Boulez and other internationally renowned intellectuals and artists, Décio published, as a  communications theoretician, the books: Informação, Linguagem e Comunicação (1968), Contracomunicação (1971), Semiótica e Literatura (1974), Signagem da Televisão (1984), Letras, Artes, Mídia (1995) and Cultura Pós-Nacionalista (1998), in addition to translating books by Marshall McLuhan and teaching at ESDI – Escola Superior de Desenho Industrial, in Rio de Janeiro, at FAU-USP and at PUC in São Paulo, among other institutions. Much of his poetic production is gathered in Poesia pois é Poesia (1977, with later editions). He translated works by Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, Pound and many other authors, brought together in the books Retrato do Amor quando Jovem (1990) and 31 Poetas 214 Poemas (1997).

João Bandeira studied music and visual arts, he earned a BA and MA in Literature from the University of São Paulo. A writer and art critic, he was coordinator and member of the curatorial board at Centro Maria Antonia-USP, in São Paulo (2005 - 2016), and is currently the coordinator at Espaço das Artes at ECA-USP. He wrote and edited several books, such as Rente (Ateliê Editorial, 1997), Arte Concreta Paulista – Documentos (Cosac Naify, 2003), Arte Contemporânea Brasileira – Ensaios e Conversas (ed. with Sônia Salzstein, USP/ICC, 2011) and Quem Quando Queira (Cosac Naify, 2015), he was also an editor at Caderno SP Arte (SP Arte/OESP, 2006) and at Revista SP Arte (SP Arte/Cosac Naify, 2007). He wrote texts for the exhibition catalogues of artists such as Waltercio Caldas, Regina Silveira, Iole de Freitas, Fernanda Gomes, Jac Leirner, Paulo Monteiro, Bruno Dunley and David Batchelor. He was the curator for group shows such as Concreta ’56A Raiz da Forma (with Lorenzo Mammì, MAM-SP, 2006) and Paisagens Fugidias (with Marta Bogéa, Maria Antonia, 2016) and solo shows by  Evgen Bavcar (Itaú Cultural, 2003), Maurício Nogueira Lima (Maria Antonia, 2008), Geraldo de Barros (Sesc Pinheiros, 2009), Nuno Ramos, Cildo Meireles (both at Maria Antonia, 2013) and Lina Bo Bardi (Sesc Pompeia, 2014), among others.


João Bandeira

Exhibiting artists

Décio Pignatari


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