Romanita Disconzi

Was ‘pop art’ a term used by yourself or colleagues or was there a different terminology that referred to a new figurative movement in the 1960s and early 1970s?

Not in 1969, and also we didn’t have an alternative term. In 1970 I sent my silkscreen prints to São Paulo Pré-Biennial, and got an award, which included an invitation to participate in the 1971 Biennial. It was in this Biennial that I became aware of pop art.

Also a magazine published a picture of one of my works relating it to pop art. It was an installation through which you could walk and were invited to various kinds of actions, such as leaving your finger prints in a kind of altar.

Did you ever consider yourself (now or in the past) a pop artist?

Not in the past, and although I know that my works share most of the same inspirational sources as pop art, I understand that pop artists are historically considered as such.

Did your work engage with current events in the 1960s and early 1970s?

Yes, as said before, my works were included in the São Paulo Biennial, in 1971 and 1973, also in the Second British International Print Biennale, in 1970; IV and V Print Biennial, Krakow, Poland, II Intergraphic, Katowice, Poland; II, III, and IV Bienal del Grabado Latino Americano, San Juan, Puerto Rico (as Invited Artist); and III Bienal del Grabado, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

How did you choose the subject matter for your work included in The World Goes Pop?

For Interpretation Totem I was working with silkscreen printing and developing some sort of individual style, using an iconography taken from urban traffic signs, commercial ads in magazines and newspapers, objects from daily life and Christian iconography (the heart, flowers, palm of the hand). I worked with a kind of language with images, and as we were, by then, having a very politically disturbed time in Brazil, some images are symbolically related to specific local features, like the Brazilian map or the money note. The fist and the gun also appeared, inspired by the strong feelings of tension that were in the air. Although I don’t consider my work as politically engaged, I do believe that it may be considered as means by which to reflect on that particular historical moment.

Where did you get your imagery from (what, if any, sources did you use)?

I think this question has already been answered, in the previous questions.

Were you aware of pop art in other parts of the world?

As I mentioned before, it was only in 1971, when I was participating in the São Paulo Biennial, that I became aware for the first time that my work could be related to pop art. In 1970, my print Inscription 1970 AD was accepted for the Second British International Print Biennale, in Yorkshire. Later on, I realised that some of the most important American pop artists were included in that exhibition. In 1979 I went to the USA to study for a masters degree in fine art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and learned more about pop art, and understand more about how it related to my work.

Was commercial art an influence on your work or the way it was made?

Yes, very much, especially commercial advertising imagery and the crude way the images were presented, with pure flat colours and very delimited edges.

Were there a feeling at the time that you were doing something important and new, making a change…?

I think so, I knew then, and now, that in that time this kind of work was quite new in Brazil and the neighbouring countries.

Was there an audience for the work at that time and if so what was their reaction to it?

Yes, absolutely. In the case of Interpretation Totem, the jury of the exhibition created a new category to award to that work, and it was immediately requested for the collection of the Museu de Arte do Rio Grande do Sul Ado Malagoli [MARGS].

Looking back at these works, what do you think about them now?

I am still working with this kind of language in my painting, although I have developed new approaches and my vocabulary has been enriched. I consider that Totem continues to carry the message I want to convey, and it still has a great appeal for the public. I feel the same about my other works from this period as well.

September 2015