Alejandro Xul Solar by Mario H. Gradowczyk
Translated by Jason Wilson
4to. pp. 255. profusely illustrated. hardcover. dw. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1994.
New in publisher's shrink wrap.
ISBN-10: 0810939827 / ISBN-13: 9780810939820
This is the first full-scale study of the life and work of Argentine artist Xul Solar (1887-1963), who was born Oscar Agustin Alejandro Schulz Solari in Buenos Aires. A gregarious eccentric, Xul Solar played a prominent role in the Argentine avant-garde of the 1920s, which included Jorge Luis Borges and such visiting luminaries as Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the Italian Futurist leader. Xul Solar went on to create a number of interrelated verbal and visual languages that expressed his identity as an Argentine/Latin American artist as well as a utopian desire for universal brotherhood.
Xul Solar left Argentina in 1911 on his way to the Far East, but he went only as far as Europe, where he remained for twelve years. There he absorbed modernist ideas - Symbolism, Expressionism, and Constructivism - and distilled them in a mixture of wit and whimsy. Xul Solar's first exhibition in Europe was held in Milan in 1910; he returned to Buenos Aires in 1924.
By 1918 he had formulated a system of pictorial writing called neocriollo (Neo-Creole), designed to be understood all over Latin America. Xul Solar continued to study languages throughout his life, along with philosophy, astrology, Asian religions, and mysticism, and all of these were reflected in his art. His later works included visionary architectural projects and paintings composed mainly of messages.