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 art critics Fernando Davis and Fernanda Nogueira interview the Uruguayan artist Clemente Padín. The conversation focuses mainly on the artist’s literary work, especially his visual poetry which launched a literary and aesthetic revolutionary movement in Uruguay and throughout Latin America. Sometime later Padín was also one of the leading promoters of mail art and performance art.
In the late 1960s a considerable number of leftist and revolutionary books and magazines were published in many countries in Latin America. These publications endorsed freedom of speech and campaigned for the defense of human rights in response to the authoritarian measures being adopted by conservative and repressive governments that had a direct impact on social and cultural conditions in those countries. Many young poets committed themselves to the cause and published “new poetry” that made no attempt to fit into any particular aesthetic style or subscribe to any school or group, but whose eclectic nature proved unsettling across cultural lines. Those visionary publishers defined a new avant-garde period in the literary universe, presenting a new vision that was both Latin Americanist and cosmopolitan. That perspective later helped to create a cultural bridge between the West and Latin America. The purpose of those magazines and poetry books—Los Huevos del Plata (Uruguay), El Corno Emplumado (Mexico), El Caimán Barbudo (Cuba), El Techo de la Ballena (Venezuela), and La Pata de Palo (Argentina), among others—was to promote understanding between Latin American nations that didn’t know each other and harbored deep prejudices about each other. The creation of a network of Latin American poetry was conducive to mutual understanding and to a cultural rapprochement between the countries in the region.
In 1966, Padín and a group of fellow artists—Héctor Paz, Juan José Linares, and Julio Moses—started publishing the magazine Los Huevos del Plata in response to the “editorial monopoly” of the so-called Generación del ‘45 (Mario Benedetti, Idea Vilariño, and Ángel Rama, among others). 16 issues of the magazine were published over the course of three years; the goal was to reject the styles that were favored in literary and cultural circles at the time, and encourage new experimental ideas in poetry, such as spatialism, concretism, visual poetry, and even the work of surrealist poets. In 1969, after the magazine shut down, Padín started another one called OVUM 10 whose poetic and visual aesthetic was reminiscent of the calligrammes produced by poets such as the Frenchman Guillaume Apollinaire (1880–1918), the Mexican Juan José Tablada (1871–1945), the Spaniard Guillermo de Torre (1900–71), the Catalonian Joan Salvat-Papasseit (1894–1924), the Hispano-Cuban Francis Picabia (1879–1953), and the Portuguese Mario de Sá-Carneiro (1890–1916). OVUM’s motto was: “Everyone who shouts differently is one of us, because the problems here are the structure, the forms of expression, the trash (…)”.
In this document Padín considers applying a visual standard or criteria. His work admits a wide range of poems that have no words because they operate beyond the parameters of the semantics of verbal language. His work is reminiscent of Poema-Proceso, the Brazilian movement headed by Mário Chamie, who makes a distinction between abstract poems and concrete poems.
[As complementary reading, see in the ICAA digital archive the following articles: by Clemente Padín, “Dictadura o clamoreo en el Uruguay” (doc. no. 1240688), and by Alfredo Torres, “Los hachepientos del ‘68” (doc. no. 1240628)].