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 interview was conducted in 1961 on the occasion of an exhibition of the work of the painter Carlos Correa in Medellín. The interviewer describes Correa as an “authentically Colombian figurative artist” and a “fortunate harvester of the earth.” Correa discusses his formative years as a musician, before he abandoned music to become a painter. Distinguished from younger artists who seek to express universal themes, Correa calls himself a “Colombian painter.” He is among the artists who are “trying to preserve our country’s nationality,” and defines himself as an exponent of “realistic humanism.” On the subject of new artists, he believes that there have been some who, unfamiliar with Colombian geography?including the Argentine critic Marta Traba, the Austrian writer Walter Engel (both of whom live in Colombia), and the Cuban cultural attaché José Gómez Sicre?have attempted to promote artistic myths through an “anti-realism operation” directed at Latin America. According to this interviewer, who considers Correa’s artistic movement to be “the best in the world,” that realism is embodied by its muralists. According to Mejía García, the painting produced by the modern generation “lacks content and ignores local problems, history, geography, and the people of the country.”
This interview with the painter Carlos Correa (1912–1985) refers to the group of painters who were called “pedronelistas.” These were the artists who agreed with the ideas proposed by Pedro Nel Gómez (1899–1984) who boldly endorsed “Colombian art” in the face of modern trends that advocated universalism in art.
In the early 1960s, the visual arts in Colombia were clearly being overtaken by ideas that originated with the international avant-garde, most notably abstraction and Figurative Expressionism. This situation was actively encouraged by the criticism and writings of certain people in artistic circles, including Marta Traba (1923–1983), who championed the young artists who assimilated these new trends, and mercilessly attacked those who still produced works of a nationalist nature.
During this period, when tradition and modernism were at loggerheads, artists who supported an Americanist and nationalist approach were seen as irrelevant, and began to feel marginalized from the mainstream. They tried to cling to their past triumphs and defended stereotypes of “Colombian art” in the face of the alleged machinations of North American imperialism.