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 text, critic Juan Calzadilla reflects on the relationship between sculpture and ceramics and on the possibilities of the latter to take on a monumental scale. He considers the work of ceramicist Noemí Márquez an example of that move into the monumental in Venezuelan ceramics, a shift that entails questioning established categories. Calzadilla points out the precedents for sculptural ceramics in the country as well as the various stages of Márquez’s production as she moved from small-format to monumental works. The text addresses as well the artist’s technique and personal imagery.
In 1986, Tributo a la tierra, a solo exhibition of Venzuelan ceramicist Noemí Márquez (b. 1933), was held at the el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas. The exhibition was the first time Márquez’s environmental-scale “rock form” works were shown together. Draftsman and critic Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931) considers the exhibition the culmination of Márquez’s passage from the useful and small-scale ceramic objects she made at the beginning of her career to monumental sculpture. Calzadilla places emphasis on how Márquez’s production reflects the permeability of categories in both sculpture and ceramics. Thus understood, Márquez’s work broadens reflection on ceramics in relation to creation as a whole and to the problem of categorization without overlooking technical specificity. Calzadilla valorizes Márquez’s expressive language which, in his view, moves beyond figuration to explore both material specificity and metaphorical questions related to the earth and the organic universe. The text provides information about earlier works of ceramic sculpture in Venezuela to evidence the novel nature of Márquez’s proposal and the still-relevant tensions between useful and sculptural ceramics.