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 Juan Calzadilla begins his essay on the Venezuelan painter known as “Pájaro” [Juan Vicente Hernández] by pointing out the similarity between some, though not all, aspects of his work and orthodox Surrealism. Calzadilla comments on the fact that Pájaro is a self-taught artist. He praises the meticulousness and objectivity of compositions that attest to his hard work and make use of powerful dreamlike themes. Calzadilla discusses briefly certain psychological aspects of Pájaro’s work and how they are tied to the iconography he is known for.
This text by draftsman and critic Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931) may be the first critical discussion of the pictorial work of the painter known as “Pájaro” [Juan Vicente Hernández] (b. 1952) who, when it was written, had participated in just two group shows. Calzadilla is mistaken about the date of the Salón de Jóvenes Artistas held at the Sala de la Compañía Anónima Nacional Teléfonos de Venezuela (CANTV) at which Pájaro’s work enjoyed great success; Calzadilla states that the event took place in 1979 when, in fact, it was held in 1981. Calzadilla fails to mention that Pájaro was awarded an honorary mention at the first group show in which he participated, the Salón de Pintura del Consejo Municipal del Distrito Federal held in Caracas in 1977. Regardless, Calzadilla is one of the most important scholars of Pájaro’s painting. He calls attention to the similarities between the painter’s work and certain Surrealist procedures and principles. Calzadilla praises the excellent training Pájaro managed to acquire because he lived in Europe from the time he was a child and, while there, frequented the best museums. While Calzadilla praises the painter’s excellent technique—his greatest contribution to painting—he fails to duly explain how Hernández was able to develop it.