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Carmen Barradas’ “Plástica Musical”: Crossovers Between Notation and Painting

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In this article we discuss the crossovers between the graphic notations of the Uruguayan composer Carmen Barradas (1888–1963) and the vibrationist painting style of Rafael Barradas (1890–1929). Developed in the 1920s, Carmen’s graphic notations are one of the first examples of avant-garde notation as well as useful sources to explore the networks of collaboration and artistic exchanges between Latin America and Europe from a perspective that is rarely studied. Carmen Barradas was born in 1888 in Montevideo and is known mainly as the sister of the painter Rafael Barradas, who, in turn, is recognized as the creator of Vibrationism, an avant-garde pictorial style. Between 1915 and 1926, Carmen and her brother Rafael resided in Spain where they developed a collaborative working relationship that led Carmen to develop “Plástica Musical,” a unique approach to graphic notation that incorporated some of Rafael’s pictorial forms. During this time, the Barradas siblings were also part of a large gathering of artists and intellectuals, which included Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dalí, Joaquín Torres García, Margarita Xirgu and Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, among many others. While in Europe Carmen’s compositions were appreciated for their adherence to the futuristic aesthetic of the time, in Latin America her work received little attention and was overshadowed by Rafael’s career. By examining the interchanges between Carmen’s work and that of Rafael, our aim is to bring to light Carmen’s interchanges with European vanguards and her brother Rafael by situating her work in the history of the twentieth century avant-garde movement.
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Open Scriptures: Notation in Contemporary Art in Europe and the Americas
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Carmen Barrada’s Plastica Musical: Crossovers between notation and painting, (1888-1963)
Susana González Aktories y Susanne Klengel
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