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.
In this article, poet Alejandro Romualdo Valle expresses his opposition to abstract art. In his view, the formal explorations of Cubism—particularly of Picasso—have placed “modern painting or, rather, the French school” at a crossroads. Experimentalism inevitably culminated in the emptiness of abstraction, which he calls a “disease” that has led to countless decorative and mundane paintings. This “natural phenomenon” in the evolution of European society is beginning to be offset by “the seed of Mexican art, of American art” exemplified by the Exposición de Arte Mexicano touring Europe at the time. Regarding his specific area, Romualdo Valle asserts that poetry, which has found itself up against a similar dilemma, must choose to recover some brand of humanism.
In 1950, Peruvian poet and draftsman Alejandro Romualdo Valle traveled to Europe to study literature in Madrid. By the time he returned to his country, in 1953, he had been marked by an experience that would prove essential to his veer towards social poetry influenced by Marxist ideology. His impressions of the current state of the Old Continent were the topic of a set of chronicles, entitled “Europa en punto,” published in the Lima-based magazine Cultura Peruana. Romualdo Valle identified postwar European abstraction with decadence; his series of articles was a hotbed for the debate against non-figuration, which is why he focused his attention on the major, and critically acclaimed, show of Mexican art touring London, Stockholm, and Paris (1952-53). This article advocates Mexican painting as a model for modern art and as an apt response to self-enclosed artistic experimentalism.