Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

Yo Digo is the title of the mimeographed publication by artist Félix Ángel that circulated free of charge in Medellín, the capital of the Department of Antioquia, from September 5, 1975 to January 7, 1979. In issue 25, the author defends himself against “an array of malicious commentaries” surrounding the publication of his book Nosotros, which addresses the work of ten contemporary artists from Antioquia. In this text, Ángel defends the selection of artists interviewed for the book as well as its overall approach, which he maintains provides “new forms of reasoning, lights that afford a clearer vision of a phenomenon called ART.” Nosotros, he explains, was originally to include thirty artists, but many declined to participate out of a sense of mistrust. He criticizes the bureaucratic nature of those who represent “an art that takes refuge behind desks.” Ángel states that he has given up teaching, criticizing the “rightwing Marxists” who constitute “the left” at the Universidad Nacional of Colombia’s School of Architecture. He also calls on all artists working at educational institutions to quit their jobs in order to get down to work “[…] rather than deciding what is best for today’s youth.”

Annotations

Félix Ángel (b. 1949) placed the ten photocopies of the first issue of Yo Digo on bulletin boards around Medellín. At that time, he had recently returned from the United States, a trip he had undertaken due to the reaction to his novel Te quiero mucho, poquito, nada which ultimately prevented him from being given a professorship. After that incident, Ángel used Yo Digo—a mimeographed publication in flyer format funded by his sympathizers—to brazenly “attack all things grounded in mediocrity and improvisation.” 

 

The texts that Ángel disseminated were characterized by their critical position, biting tone, and confrontational quality. They voice the vision of an emerging artist fighting to gain respect, “to do justice” in a context where juries and authorities were by no means independent. Ángel attempted to find a place for himself as a contemporary artist in opposition to the artistic and academic establishment. He was concerned with inciting debate as he upheld positions at odds with the status quo.

 

In the last issue of Yo Digo, dated January 7, 1978 and signed in Washington, DC, Ángel provides a historical overview of the publication. At that time, he was in the United States pursuing a new stage in his career, and hence he decided to bring to a close “the only serious publication in Medellín dedicated solely to art.”

Researcher
Santiago Londoño Vélez
Team
Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia
Credit
Courtesy of Félix Angel, Washington D.C., USA