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.
After a historical overview of sculpture from prehistory to the twentieth century, Gloria Carnevali reflects on abstract sculpture which, along with parallel advances in the areas of physics, biology, mathematics and geometry, underwent a radical change in its approach to notions of space and structure; sculpture ceased to be conceived as a mass forged in heavy, hard, and compact materials that was surrounded by space. Carnevali then proceeds to analyze the historical significance of Gego’s works made from rods and stainless steel wires, which she describes as structures with minimal mass. Gego’s works are expansive open volumes; space forms part of the work, rather than existing outside of it. Carnevali discusses the meaning of “the organic” in art, as well as the notion of “open sculpture.” She comments on the various phases of Gego’s three-dimensional production prior to the wire compositions she began making in 1964. She remarks as well on the two structural systems (triangular- and square-based) and the sorts of linkages that Gego has used in her works. In closing, Carnevali discusses Gego’s architectural works, that is, sculptures that form an integral part of buildings.
In 1977, the first major exhibition of work by Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt, 1912–1994) was held at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo of Caracas. In addition to the museum publications (the book Gego featuring an essay by Venezuelan poet Hanni Ossott and the exhibition catalogue with text by Argentine critic Marta Traba), and the usual short reviews in the Venezuelan press, a number of essays by Venezuelan critics were published. These included texts by Roberto Montero Castro, and this one, “Para comprender a Gego,” by Venezuelan philosopher and critic Gloria Carnevali. Of all the literature on Gego, this text, which due to its methodology and way of imparting information and developing analysis, is particularly useful due to the structure and language it provides for the representation and comprehension of the complexities of an artist such as Gego. The article is geared to a new audience, one not necessarily versed in the visual arts. On the one hand, it addresses Gego with methodological rigor, placing her work in the context of Western artistic and scientific culture, and providing information that even specialists may find of interest. At the same time, it is a didactic text addressing the general public. Carnevali takes the reader through the changes in conceptions of space and sculpture from antiquity to the present before discussing the topic of Gego and her career, without dwelling on biographical anecdotes. As a result, her characterizations of Gego’s work are well grounded and reasoned conclusions.