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, Joaquín Torres García (JTG) briefly clarifies his statement that “the abstract” is the same as “the concrete.” On the basis of his Platonic notion that the material object and its “Idea” as transcendental essence correspond, JTG maintains that the object forms part of the world of “the concrete,” whereas the idea that constitutes its metaphysical basis forms part of the world of “the abstract.”
On the basis of the principle of the autonomy of art that he shared with much of the early-twentieth-century European avant-garde, Joaquín Torres García (JTG) asserts that there is no contradiction between the terms “abstract” and “concrete.” According to his theory, the former refers to the concept, to the idea that is an essential part of the artistic fact, whereas the latter refers to the “real thing,” to the visible material through which the abstract is manifested. He asserts that together the terms suggest “the perfect union of idea and matter” that the artist calls the “visual fact.” This explanation is an attempt to clarify the misunderstanding according to which “abstract art” designates anything that is not “figurative”; in the view of JTG, “all art as we know it, whether figurative or not, is abstract.” [For further reading, see the following texts by Joaquín Torres García in the ICAA digital archive: “Con respecto a una futura creación literaria” (doc. no. 730292); “Lección 132. El hombre americano y el arte de América” (doc. no. 832022); “Mi opinión sobre la exposición de artistas norteamericanos: contribución” (doc. no. 833512); “Nuestro problema de arte en América: lección VI del ciclo de conferencias dictado en la Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de Montevideo” (doc. no. 731106); “Introducción [en] Universalismo Constructivo” (doc. no. 1242032); “Sentido de lo moderno [en Universalismo Constructivo]” (doc. no. 1242015); “Bases y fundamentos del arte constructivo” (doc. no. 1242058); and “Manifiesto 2, Constructivo 100%” (doc. no. 1250878)].