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 essay about the Venezuelan communicator, dramatist, and performance artist Marco Antonio Ettedgui, Elsa Flores discusses his work as a body artist. Flores explains that, in Ettedgui’s events, the act of communicating and educating is just as important as any aesthetic, perhaps more so. Flores addresses two basic subjects: art as information-communication, and the body as art’s code and message. She uses quotes from scholars in the fields of information theory and communication to support her ideas. She explains that, throughout the history of Western civilization, man’s relationship with his body has been defined by rejection and taboos. She describes Ettedgui as an artist whose language is a body art steeped in anthropology and sociology that is a form of conceptual art. The “harsh critic” describes the artist’s main goals as being to speak up and help to raise awareness about what was going on with ordinary Venezuelans.
The art critic Elsa Flores, who was originally from Argentina, lived and worked in Venezuela in the 1970s and early 1980s, when she was working as an art critic and a teacher. Flores has made an extensive study of the work of Marco Antonio Ettedgui (1958–81), particularly in the field of performance art. In this essay—the most complete that has ever been written about this facet of the Venezuelan artist’s work—Flores discusses his work as a body artist. Ettedgui’s career was short by time’s measure but bountiful in terms of his work (from 1979 until 1981 when he tragically died onstage). Flores provides a wealth of theoretical information about authors (specialists in anthropology, semiotics, linguistics, and other social sciences), and submits her analysis of their ideas. The author is a visual art teacher and a specialist in semiotics so she quotes from a wide range of authors and theories that are also a reflection of the structuralist analytical theories and methods that were in vogue in the 1970s and 1980s.
In her analysis of Ettedgui’s work, Flores lays out key ideas for unlocking the meaning of contemporary art, especially conceptual art, as in the case of The Open Work (1962) by Umberto Eco, or classifications for non-conventional types of works of art by Jorge Glusberg (Argentina), or Simón Marchán-Fiz in the case of conceptual art. Flores’ conclusions about Ettedgui’s work are therefore based on solid foundations, making this a didactic essay, albeit one written for a specialized readership.
Another point of interest in this essay is that it includes a complete list of Ettedgui’s performances and “informational events,” placing him among the generation of early Venezuelan conceptual artists. Flores only names the most significant of this group. The essay “Entrada al cuerpo del cuerpo” introduces the third section of ETTEDGUI, arte-información para la comunidad (Caracas: Ediciones Oxígeno, 1985), the only book that contains all of Ettedgui’s written work (poetry, theater, and performance). The book includes two other essays: “Entrada al cuerpo del texto” by Alejandro Varderi and “Entrada al cuerpo del teatro” by Juan Calzadilla.
For other material by Ettedgui, see “Hospitalización por cálculo renal: evento informacional de la serie ‘Salones de Belleza’ llevados a la práctica por su artista favorito Marco Antonio Ettedgui” [doc. no. 865734] and “Feliz cumpleaños, Marco Antonio: evento informacional de Marco Antonio Ettedgui a partir de la arquitectura de la Galería de Arte Nacional como texto artístico tradicional” [doc. no. 1152597].