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.
Curator Lourdes Blanco provides an overview of Manuel Mérida’s painting from the formative stage of his career to his last solo exhibition. She reflects on the various tensions evident in his work, including those between the two- and three-dimensional, traditional themes and a mechanical aesthetic, and the worlds of the visual arts (painting) and the functional arts (set design). On the basis of these questions, the author discusses the development of each of the phases of Mérida’s production, from gestural Informalism to the pursuit of actual movement and the materialization of processes related to artistic material.
In 1976, the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas organized Manuel Mérida, an exhibition of the work of Venezuelan painter Manuel Mérida (b. 1939). With the environmental works in that show, Mérida formulated a new concept based on large canvases and creased papers. The catalogue text, written by Lourdes Blanco, provides a systematic account of Mérida’s diverse production. His art, Blanco asserts, is full of tensions that by no means diminish the power of the final product, but instead give shape to a terrain ripe for reflection on creative possibilities based on innovative media, mixed media, the use of varied materials, and the use of motion. On those grounds, Mérida formulates the need to consider artistic expression an “expanded field” that can make use of tradition in a functional environment that explores new expressive possibilities. In that sense, this 1976 exhibition demonstrates production that is heir to a great deal of artistic experience acquired starting in the fifties with Mérida’s work in set design, as the text illustrates. The artist has an unwavering interest in developing work that, even from a conventional perspective, questions its own nature and introduces factors that generate phenomena. Like the object art of the time, the emphasis on effects and—in the case of this show—on works that are environmental in nature, attests to Mérida’s interest in showing artifacts that generate experience.