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.
The basis of curator Roberto Guevara’s critical discussion of the exhibition Figuración / Fabulación is an analysis of, among other things, the origin of the term “Latin America” and the search for a regional identity. Guevara states that his curatorial focus is not limited to a historicist reading of the creative development in Latin America from 1914 to 1989. It is instead based on the concept of “fabulous figuration” during that period. The show is divided into five thematic clusters: between humor, violence, and politics; landscapes for a New World; natural kingdoms, fabulous kingdoms, and the rebellion of the depths; the scenario of the visible, the scenario of the possible; and the new humanism.
Venezuelan critic and curator Roberto Guevara (1932–98) provides a synthetic overview of the exhibition Figuración / Fabulación, one of the most important shows of Latin American art to be held in Venezuela in the last decade of the twentieth century. The context of the document is important. For the exhibition, Guevara brought together 102 works by the most important twentieth-century Latin American artists found in public and private collections in Venezuela and beyond. The introduction to the exhibition catalogue demonstrates how ambitious the project was. Distancing himself from a predictable historicist reading of the show—a reading that might have been easier to grasp and ultimately, more complacent—Guevara formulates a thematic revision of core problems related to Latin American identity, problems reflected in the art of the period (1914 to 1989). He states, “We will now let several generations of creators tell us with their works how a transparent and perhaps intangible structure has been forged, one that represents a continent destined to make real what constitutes us.” The text—written in 1990, two years before the revision of colonialism in the Americas that would take place in 1992 during the celebration of the five hundredth anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus—formulates a (re)consideration of the topic while assuming the necessary distance from black and golden legends. Although primarily focused on figurative art and its universe of fables, Guevara’s proposal addresses the nineties on the basis of a perhaps forced reading of twentieth-century Latin American art. The exhibition catalogue, with this extensive and thorough text, provides a comprehensive overview of that experience and of its results.