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 brief text, the subscribing artists (participants in the exhibition 7 pintores argentinos [Seven Argentinean Painters] in August 1935) maintain that they do not support any specific pictorial trend; they have however conflicting ideologies. Also, they gathered together because art critics are unable to set hierarchies; moreover, they share interests in the visual issues The group includes: Aquiles Badi, Héctor Basaldúa, Antonio Berni, Horacio Butler, Ramón Gómez Cornet, Emilio Pettoruti, and Lino Enea Spilimbergo.
The modernization of art forms in Argentina had one of its main periods in the 1920s. Following the artists linked to the Martín Fierro journal—Emilio Pettoruti (1892–1971), Xul Solar (1887–1963) and Norah Borges (1901–98)—towards the end of the decade Alfredo Guttero’s (1882–1932) activities came to light, in addition to that of the Artistas del Pueblo [Artists of the Town] involved with social political engraving, and the local activity of the artists who trained in Paris: Aquiles Badi (1894–1976), Horacio Butler (1897–1983), Héctor Basaldúa (1895–1976), Raquel Forner (1902–88), Alfredo Bigati (1898–1964), Antonio Berni (1905–81) and Lino Enea Spilimbergo (1896–1964).
In the early 1930s, there was a confrontation between two poles. On the one hand, the artists who defended political art, driven in 1933 by the arrival of Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974); its key figures were Berni and Spilimbergo. On the other hand, those who proposed the formal renewal of pure art; among them Emilio Pettoruti, Butler, and most of the artists trained at the so-called School of Paris. However, both circles shared the awareness of being modern artists in overt opposition with academic Naturalism.
The emergence of Nationalism during the 1930s changed the confrontational policies of Communism with the liberal, socialist, and democratic sectors in order to form antifascist and antimilitaristic alliances. This document presents the cultural response to this policy in a retrospective show of “modern artists” to point out the joint task carried out by these artists. Having been strongly opposed only two years before, they strove in tandem to impose artistic modernity since the 1920s. Therefore, a manifesto justified the joint presentation defending modernity, and beyond their differences regarding both aesthetic and political issues. Concerning the exhibition catalog, see document no. 733857.