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In this section of the second chapter of her book La transestética postmoderna (Caracas, 2003), Margot Römer provides a chronological overview of the period that spans from the sixties to the late nineties, pointing out the artists, events, and exhibitions that anticipated and consolidated “installation” art in Venezuela. Römer considers Carlos Contramaestre the harbinger of installation art in Venezuela thanks to his exhibition Homenaje a la necrofilia held in November 1962. She addresses specific groups and workshops founded in different decades and she describes works and events. The author points to the rise of the happening and performance genres in the seventies and eighties. Römer also mentions what she deems paradigmatic exhibitions: 11 Tipos, the Bienal Dior, the Bienal Guayana, and the Salón Pirelli. She then discusses the resurgence of the painting medium in the eighties and, in closing, provides a brief analysis of art at the end of the 20th century, when museums were undertaking group projects related to “idea art” that placed greater emphasis on installations. She discusses as well the importance of virtual space that suggests the “true beginning of a cybernetic art.”
This document is a section from the only chapter in the book La transestética postmoderna by Venezuelan artist Margot Römer (1938–2005) that addresses Venezuelan art. The overarching topics of the book are postmodernism in the Western world, Conceptualism, and installation art, whose origins Römer traces back to Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, and Joseph Beuys. The book is based on Römer’s graduate thesis in education at the Universidad Simón Rodríguez in Caracas.
Römer was not only a visual artist, but also an educator, art historian, and critic. She founded and advocated cultural and educational institutions such as the Sala Mendoza in Caracas, which she directed from 1976 to 1982. As an artist, her conceptual language was largely defined through her participation in the important group exhibitions and events she discusses in this part of the book, specifically Las sensaciones perdidas del hombre and Para contribuir a la confusión general—both held in Caracas in 1972—and Piel a piel—held in the context of the XII São Paulo Biennial in 1973 (Römer would participate in the 1981 edition of the São Paulo Biennial as well).
Römer’s text is an annotated chronological overview with descriptions of works and events rather than a critical analysis. While some of the artists, works, and exhibitions that Römer deems “precursors of the installation” had been studied by earlier authors—works and groups like El Techo de la Ballena (active from 1961 to 1968), Eugenio Espinoza’s Impenetrable (1973), and Antonieta Sosa’s street actions—it also contains valuable information on lesser known or studied events and movements such as the Inciba’s Taller 12 (1962), the Taller Arte Experimental (1969), and Pedro Terán’s Taller Metropolitano de Artes Visuales (1983), which the artist ran out of his home. The source of much of the information in this text is conversations with individuals central to the events recorded.