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 essay by curator Rina Carvajal was written for Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro, an exhibition featuring Venezuelan artists Alfred Wenemoser, Héctor Fuenmayor, Roberto Obregón, and Antonieta Sosa held at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas in 1991. Carvajal explains that her curatorial interest revolves around demonstrating, on the one hand, the individual qualities of the artists and, on the other, a shared “willingness to take risks” that has enabled them to “formulate new ways of envisioning and experiencing the space of art.” Carvajal then divides her essay into four sections, each of which analyzes the formal language and poetics of the four artists and their “work in installation.”
In this critical essay, curator Rina Carvajal tries not to identify the four artists addressed (Alfred Wenemoser, Héctor Fuenmayor, Roberto Obregón, and Antonieta Sosa) with a specific tendency—which is significant since Venezuelan critics and the general public once saw those four artists as the pioneers of conceptual art and now see them as its major exponents. When this curatorial text was written (1991), those four artists were well-established figures. According to Carvajal, their formulations took shape in the seventies largely outside the confines of mainstream institutions.
Carvajal analyzes the artists’ poetics and “works in installation” on the basis of the methodology and hermeneutics of the visual arts; her perspective is formal, psychological, and aesthetic. Carvajal identifies traits shared by the four artists, such as “open and multi-referential” proposals and a “critical and reflexive relationship to their languages.” While she finds characteristics in their work usually associated with Conceptualism (work as process, interest in the passage of time, formal simplicity, the centrality of reflection, and a certain conception of the emotional), she never places them in “the conceptual” category. This is important because it means placing those artists’ work in a broad, as opposed to local, context, resisting a tendency in Venezuelan criticism to unify criteria in relation to art movements, a tendency that often leads to a reduction of the diverse contemporary art scene.
“Otras dimensiones del papel” [ICAA digital archive (doc. no. 1065785)], the text by José Ignacio Herrera featured in the same catalogue, analyzes the works on paper or involving paper included in the show.