skip to content

Oliverio Girondo, Instantánea del cerebro de Ramón

Within many of the Latin American avant-garde movements, like Creacionismo and Ultraísmo, the search for novelty became an almost scientific pursuit. In this image from the Argentine magazine Martín Fierro – which famously counted among its collaborators writers such as Jorge Luis Borges, Leopoldo Marechal and Macedonio Fernández – the poet Oliverio Girondo sketches a snapshot of the creative mind of Ramón Gómez de la Serna, the Spanish avant-garde writer and provocateur. The drawing plays with the idea of photographing a creative mind and its attributes. The central section of the snapshot focuses on the puzzling brain of the genius itself. Within its circuitous interior we find many of Gómez de la Serna’s most famous concepts, ideas and obsessions: written mentions to his caprichos, greguerías, and even to some of his book titles, coexist with drawn images of gramophones, pistols, clocks, umbrellas and radios. Around the edges of the central image we find two thermometers with words characterizing the creative genius: genius, fantasy, spontaneity, intuition, irony, sensibility, intelligence and instinct. The idea of photographing the mind of the genius condenses many of the characteristic concerns of the avant-garde: the attempt to introduce new technologies into the realm of art, the search for novelty instead of tradition, as well as the image of the mind as a set of conflictive interests. This pressing concern with science and technology, as something of utmost relevance to their artistic projects, became a symbol of the movement’s attempts to grapple with the industrial advances of modernity.

Text: Carlos Fonseca

Oliverio Girondo
Instantánea del cerebro de Ramón
In Martín Fierro, second series, no. 19, 18 July 1925