Ukrainian born Boris Schnaiderman died yesterday in São Paulo at the age of 99. He was absolutely fundamental and instrumental in building up the structures for the world of “Concrete Poetry” – the movement founded by Haroldo and Augusto de Campos and Décio Pignatari. Together with critics and other European intellectuals who sought refuge in Brazil, such as Anatole Rosenfeld, writer Clarice Lispector (also born in Ukraine) and Jacó Guinsburg, born in Belarus and owner of Editora Perspeciva, these intellectuals formed the ‘pillars’ of the Brazilian modernist movement. There would have been no “Tropicalismo” without them, thus, no Caetano and Gil and no Hélio Oiticica and so on.
Following a phone call from Haroldo de Campos, Guinsburg and Schnaiderman came to see my “Kafka Trilogy” and, a decade later, in 1996, Editora Perspectiva published two books about my work – “Encenador de Si Mesmo” (curated by Haroldo de Campos) and “Gerald Thomas em Cena : Memória e Invençao” (by Silvia Fernandes).
Schnaiderman will be thoroughly missed.
In a few years, nobody in Brazil will even remember he existed.
Brazil is a country with no memory.
Maybe that’s a good thing.
Maybe that is the worst of all curses.