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.
Juan Acha presents his essay on the object and installation art Dorado [Golden] by Venezuelan conceptual artist Pedro Terán, which was exhibited in the Espacio Alterno at the Galeria de Arte Nacional in Caracas (1983). He highlights Terán’s intention to activate the creative capacity of the viewer. Thereafter he analyzes various aspects of his work from a semiotic perspective; among them, the potential meanings of the title; the various objects united through the use of the color gold, which suggests the opposition between nature and culture (superseded by the
translinguistic or trans-semiotic character of the art); and the syntax of the objects within themselves and in terms of the context of the museum and viewer. He concludes that “we are in an environmental reality” in which the object-subject relationship is emphasized above all else.
There are many interesting aspects about this essay by Peruvian critic Juan Acha (1916–1995) on the work Dorado by Pedro Terán (b. 1943). Acha wrote this text a few months before they were exhibited without having seen the works—basing [his essay] on a description the Conceptual Venezuelan artist sent to him. He recognized that his text might be rendered irrelevant (as it would be read by a public who could see the work). But even so, he wrote it; this demonstrates the critic’s great openness and understanding—(he was trained in Marxism) and belonged to the generation prior to the rise of Conceptualism in Latin America—to non-traditional languages that arose in the 1960s and 1970s, especially the notion that conceptual work could be understood through the creative process.
Other noteworthy aspects are the possible readings of Terán’s Dorado (which is rich in formal elements and meanings), the critic’s analysis offers the reader valuable information on art as a translinguistic or trans-semiotic communications phenomenon, including fundamental concepts in communications and information theory; among them are: a work as a group of concepts (ritual, legend, metaphor or allusion); use of polysemic or pansemic elements; different dimensions, definitions or identifications that could take on the gold color of this work.
The classification of objects (all unified by the gold color) that compose Terán’s work is of great value: primitive or natural (earth, stones, feathers, dry branches, shamanic maracas, or ashes); cultural or technological (the Virgin, weights, electric light bulb, Polaroids, words, or videos), all of which point to possible meanings for Dorado through the varied syntax of objects that may arise in art.
Acha also references to the importance of spatial context, in this case of the museum and in various times in his essay he highlights the presence of the viewer as a fundamental, creative, and productive factor for communication; he affirms that the effect the work has on the public is achieved on the semiotic plane, which is also where the object-subject relationship acquires emphasis.