The World as a Bazaar and a Kindergarten. Children´s Literature and Spanish Avant-Garde

Emilio Quintana | 
Stockholm, Sweden

The title of this poster is related with the first avant-garde books written by the Argentinian poet living in Spain, Francisco Luis Bernárdez (1900-1978): Bazar (1922; illustrations by Rafael Barradas) and Kindergarten (poemas ingenuos) (1923; illustrations by Cándido Fernández Mazas). 

These books are very rare to find nowadays and they have not yet been valued as they deserve. The relationship between the Avant-Garde and the children´s world has to do with the "postwar spirit" in the Spanish Arts (adamism, creationism...), which aims to look at the world with new eyes and a childish and naive approach:

Harto de espesa filosofía torno a Perrault,
torno a Andersen:
para los cansos ojos del alma remedio hay en
un milagroso colirio: el Sol...

Sick of dense philosophy I return to Perrault,
I return to Andersen:
for the tired eyes of the soul relief we find in
a miracle eye drop: the Sun...



el corazón  

con su emoción  


the heart
with its first

Translations by Emilio Quintana 

This modern adamism try to reshape the world through puerile images and narratives in an attempt of wash off the mud of the trenches. In the words of Jean Clair (Courte Histoire de l´Art Moderne, 2004, 13):

“... le créateur prétend faire table rase de tout ce qui l´a précédé, de tout ce qui l´entoure, pour s´installer lui-même comme un “ego” solitaire, imprérieux et unique, dans une sorte de délire de toute-puissance infantile qui caractérise, lui aussi, la modernité”

Therefore -in the Spanish Avant-Garde literature- the Bazaar is both the new place of the modern commercial world and the paradise of the children, who find there their toys. Similarly, the Kindergarten is the playground of a new postwar scene in which literature can develop itself free of the heavy burden of the violently destroyed previous world

In addition, we´re going to show about how Spanish Avant-Garde try to reshape children's educational environment in Spain in the 20´s: children´s short-stories by Ramón Gómez de la Serna, illustrations by Barradas and others, children´s books by Salvador Bartolozzi, toys by Torres García, book covers designs by Eduardo de Ontañón, etc. 

Emilio Quintana Pareja,
29 Sep 2012, 07:39