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Sensitive female universes: considerations on the work of the Hungarian-Brazilian artist Yolanda Mohalyi

Termin Label
Research Webinar
Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften
Online via Zoom

Lecture by Ana Avelar as part of the lecture series Transatlantic Modernities between Brazil and Austria. 

In this lecture, Avelar will address the case of the Hungarian-Brazilian painter who holds a lonely place in the historiography of local art, since, on one hand, she is unanimously understood as an undisputed icon of Brazilian informalist painting, while on the other, she generates little interest among academics. Monographic studies dedicated to her art do not present interpretations being limited to reporting art criticism of the 1950s and 1960s. To do so, I will use recent and feminist interpretations of the Jewish-Romanian-American artist Hedda Sterne, whose abstract expressionist work, little studied until the 2000s, is today of great interest in revisionist art history. Sterne, whose personal and professional history closely resembles that of Mohalyi’s, also had both academic and avant-garde training in her native land, before immigrating to the US in 1941. Upon arrival, Sterne meets Peggy Guggenheim and, given her friendship with the Dada and surrealist environment in Paris, she joins the surrealist group living in New York. Also in this decade, Sterne is one of the first artists to be represented by the Betty Parsons Gallery and participates in numerous abstract expressionist exhibitions. However, although she is the only female artist portrayed alongside the other “irascibles” in the famous 195s photo, she remained silenced by historiography, as well as from most retrospective exhibitions devoted to the subject. Sterne's marginal place and her current rehabilitation as an indispensable artist of the abstract expressionist setting offer a direction for understanding Yolanda Mohalyi's pictorial production, given their dialogues with mid-20th century abstract painting, as well as the relevance of their formation in a similar Eastern Europe’s artistic environment and their subsequent insertion in artistic scenes populated by the avant-garde debate in the Americas.

Ana Avelar is chair of the Fine Arts Department at University of Brasília. From 2017 to 2021, she was the curator of Casa Niemeyer [Niemeyer House]. In 2019, she won the Curators Exchange Program, promoted by the Brazilian Contemporary Art Association - ABACT and the Getty Research Institute. As a researcher, her main interests are contemporary and modern Brazilian art and art criticism.

Time: 9 am (Brazilian time) / 2 pm (Austria time) - duration 2 hours


Meeting-ID: 991 6687 8058

Language : English