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In the introductory essay in the catalogue for the group exhibition Nuevas tendencias en la plástica peruana (1968), Juan Acha discusses the different views associated with the concepts of “universal” and “local” in developing countries. He notes that today’s young artists have dispensed with “the European romantic structure that most of our artists still use as a mental and emotional framework.” Unlike earlier generations that embraced international movements in their “search for the ‘right balance’ between establishment-backed European styles and the avant-garde,” young artists now “promote radical changes for personal and group reasons.” Acha rates the development of a local avant-garde on a par with technological advances, which is why he insists on the need to get past the idea of a “Peruvian, Latin American, or ‘noble savage’ identity” in order to “become industrialized or developed.”
The Peruvian critic Juan Acha (1916–95), who lived in Mexico, was one of the main promoters of the Peruvian artistic avant-garde in the mid-1960s. In his articles, essays, and newspaper reviews he was both a theoretical champion for Pop and Op-Art and a supporter for the young artists in those movements that represented the developmental ideology of the period. This essay was published in the catalogue for Nuevas tendencias en la plástica peruana, the exhibition organized by the Fundación para las Artes, and sponsored by the UNMSM (Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos) in May 1968. Here Acha calls for a “local avant-garde that is current” with international movements, and distances himself from “telluric abstraction” (see Fernando de Szyszlo), which had become a sort of official art.
[As complementary reading, see the following articles by the author in the ICAA digital archive: “Las bienales en América Latina de hoy” (doc. no. 1079465); “¿Está aún vigente la pintura figurativa?” (doc. no. 1097217); “Consideraciones estéticas: Szyszlo en el I. A. C.” (doc. no. 1292805); “Arte Pop: procedimientos y finalidades” (doc. no. 1107517); “En busca de un autor para Túpac Amaru: una candente polémica” (doc. no. 1107496); “El Homenaje al cuadrado de Josef Albers” (doc. no. 1293025); “El video” (doc. no. 1097190); and “Teoría y práctica de las artes no objetualistas en América Latina” (doc. no. 1088533). See also the following articles about the controversial tribute to the artist Sérvulo Gutiérrez: “Artes Plásticas: Sérvulo Gutiérrez” (doc. no. 1107586); “La pintura de Sérvulo” (doc. no. 1107534); “Polémica sobre el homenaje a Sérvulo: Juan Acha responde a Juan Ríos” (doc. no. 1107568); and “Polémica sobre el homenaje a Sérvulo: Juan Acha responde a Juan Ríos; hija de Sérvulo protesta porque el IAC se negó a exhibir el primer cuadro de su padre” (doc. no. 1107551)].