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.
This article by Víctor Amaya González highlights three important aspects of Spanish sculptor Ramón Barba’s work: its ability to transform materials and to harmonize a diverse range of elements; its distinctive quality; and finally, and most importantly, its use of a symbolic language akin to the mythical language of primitive cultures, particularly—in Víctor Amaya González’s view—in works like La Ofrenda [The Offering]. This approach to the pre-Columbian world allows Barba to explore new terrain that would finally make it possible to build a national art unhindered by academic subservience.
In this text, Colombian poet and writer Víctor Amaya González (born 1898), who frequently wrote about art, analyzes the work of Madrid-born (2) sculptor Ramón Barba (1894–1964). In his assessment of how Barba handles materials, González—like other critics of the day—valued in particular one trait: Barba’s connection to the century-old tradition of Spanish wood carvers rather than to avant-garde tendencies. Similarly, González points out Barba’s stance on the aesthetic of “beauty” and “harmony” that was so central to Colombian art of the period. Barba, like other artists of his generation, cared most about the ability to convey emotions on the basis of close study of the specificity of a place and its inhabitants. Therein, it was thought, lay the basis for constructing a national art. It was for this reason that Amaya had such praise for work that makes reference to the indigenous world. There was a growing belief that contemplation of that world would provide a way to begin to move beyond academic conventions and to formulate an art connected to the local context, even though that was never a central concern in the context where Barba produced his work.