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.
Vicente Basso Maglio sees “creative freedom” as a constant that lies outside historical time. In his view, it is intrinsically human—a pure concept not bound to questions of style in art, which are to his thinking, vulgar, ornamental, and descriptive. In this text, Basso Maglio attempts to formulate a critique in the field of aesthetics based on philosophical verbosity: he fails to shape a concise discourse, although he seems to struggle to overcome historicism and positivism. Norberto Berdía’s painting—the ostensible topic of the text—is just an excuse to develop a cryptic thesis.
In its lyrical and philosophical exaltation, this essay by writer Vicente Basso Maglio (1899–1961) is not unlike other articles of his authorship on the creative process, which is understood as universal human phenomenon inseparable from the notion of “existential freedom.” He attempts to overcome the positivism still operative in his time by proposing critical thinking that nonetheless falls into metaphysics. His stance is anti-formalist, and his defense of the indivisibility of expression and concept means that “language” is for him a means that abolishes the distance between expression and concept rather than an end that formalizes an idea. On those grounds, he defends the drawing medium as a manifestation of the “pure concept” (“pure poetry”) instead of form and color, which is the “verbalization of the object,” language rendered object. It is not easy to extract these ideas of Basso Maglio’s overly cryptic tangle of philosophical speculations. The author is clearly attempting to define “critical thought” through supposed metaphysical essences in an approach that would not take hold among Uruguayan intellectuals of the forties. There was no room for Basso Maglio’s verbose ramblings in a context marked by Joaquín Torres García’s conceptual precision or by the later teachings of a critic and historian of the stature of Jorge Romero Brest, who influenced a generation of young Uruguayan critics.