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 journalist Silvia Coronil interviews César Rengifo; she begins the conversation by mentioning that this artist had recently been awarded the CONAC [Consejo Nacional de la Cultura, Venezuela] theater prize. Rengifo discusses his views about art as a medium for human advancement, describing it as a high quality byproduct of man’s work. In his opinion, this activity has historically been shaped by the ideology of the dominant classes, which impose their ideas on the process. In defining the creation of art as something that is both an aspect and a result of a class struggle, Rengifo portrays it as a reflection of the ideas, knowledge, values, and views of those dominant classes. The painter explains that, though art and aesthetic activities are part of mankind’s common heritage, the gap between manual and intellectual work fosters an alienation that prevents people from knowing and enjoying art, and from becoming interested in that kind of work.
Tribuna Popular is the weekly propaganda and news journal of the Venezuelan Communist Party. The Venezuelan César Rengifo (1915–80), who was an active member of the PCV, contributed to the journal on numerous occasions. As the PCV increasingly favored taking up arms against President Rómulo Betancourt’s regime, Rengifo—who thought that strategy was a mistake—distanced himself from the party though not from his political convictions as an unrepentant Marxist.
This interview, conducted by the journalist Silvia Coronil, was one of the few occasions when the painter Rengifo explained how and why he drifted away from the Venezuelan Communist Party. He died three months later. This interview also gave Rengifo a chance to use the full conceptual analysis and interpretation arsenal that historical materialism makes of art as one of the basic features of communist thought.