The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Un lustro visual: Ensayos sobre arte contemporáneo colombiano [Five Years of Visual Art: Essays on Contemporary Colombian Art] (1976) is a collection of articles published by the art critic Eduardo Serrano in newspapers, magazines, and exhibition catalogues from 1970 through 1975. In his introduction to the catalogue, Serrano explains that during the first five years of the 1970s there was a great deal of innovation and experimentation, and a significant increase in the number of exhibitions of works representing international trends such as Hyperrealism, Minimalist art, Functionalist painting, and Conceptual art. This prompts him to explain the “old conviction” to justify his high profile role as an art critic and curator during that period. He believes that “the way to know something thoroughly and objectively is immersing in it. It is, after all, the artist—not the critic—who defines art.” Serrano also presents two sections of the book, Exposiciones[Exhibitions] and Contexto [Context]. The first section discusses works shown at solo exhibitions; the second explores aspects of the artistic context through the prism of events, national salons, and group exhibitions.
When the book Un lustro visual: Ensayos sobre arte contemporáneo colombiano [Five Years of Visual Art: Essays on Contemporary Colombian Art] (1976) was published, Eduardo Serrano Rueda (b. 1939) was the curator at the Museo de Arte Moderno [Museum of Modern Art] in Bogotá, a position he held from 1974 to 1994. The book includes Serrano’s articles about Colombian artists and exhibitions that appeared in catalogues and national magazines and newspapers. Most were written while he was running the Galería Belarca (1969–74). He thus became a significant contributor to a range of publications after Marta Traba (1930–1983) left Colombia in 1969. This book is essential to an understanding of the visual arts in the early 1970s because Serrano had a busy exhibition schedule—especially of works by young artists—at the Galería Belarca and the Museo de Arte Moderno, as the book explains. The book has 282 pages and is divided into four sections: Exposiciones [Exhibitions] (texts about solo exhibitions of Colombian artists); Contexto [Context] (essays on group exhibitions, art events, and institutions), the de rigueur Biografías [Biographies] (a brief review of the artists mentioned in the book); and Ilustraciones [Illustrations] (a file of black and white images). In a press article announcing the book launch at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogotá, Serrano suggests that critics in those days were well trained. He acknowledges, for example, that the Colombian Germán Rubiano (b. 1938) and the Cuban Galaor Carbonell (1938–1996), who lived in Colombia, were critics who “write very seriously and are well trained and well informed” (El Tiempo, Bogotá, 25 June 1976, p. 4B). In the introduction to Un lustro visual Serrano remarks that if the artist defines art, it is the critic’s job and duty to “identify it, describe it, discuss it, and above all try to understand it.” He adds that a critic’s opinions should be based on perception, not on preconceived ideas.