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.
This document relates the response of Spanish sculptor Ángel Ferrant to the survey with regard to abstract, or non-figurative art, in which he indicates that the word “abstract” is inappropriate when it does not acknowledge a visual model. Ferrant stresses that it would be more exact to say “absolute” instead of “abstract,” as was suggested by the Escuela de Altamira. He also states that “non-figurative art” runs the risk of becoming lost in decorativism. This document relates the response of Spanish sculptor Ángel Ferrant to the survey with regard to abstract, or non-figurative art, in which he indicates that the word “abstract” is inappropriate when it does not acknowledge a visual model. Ferrant stresses that it would be more exact to say “absolute” instead of “abstract,” as was suggested by the Escuela de Altamira. He also states that “non-figurative art” runs the risk of becoming lost in decorativism.
Sur [South] was one of the principal Argentinean literary magazines, founded and financed by Victoria Ocampo (1890-1979). It was published from 1931 to 1988, although with fluctuating regularity. Its initial group of contributors included Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) and Norah Borges (1901-1998), Guillermo de Torre (1900-1971), Oliverio Girondo (1891-1967), Leopoldo Marechal (1900-1970), Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914-1999), and Silvina Ocampo (1903-1994), among others. The survey was based on the following questions: 1) Do you believe the term abstract art, used until today with a more general connotation, is really inappropriate and imprecise, and that from now on it should be replaced by the term non-figurative art, without intent to include within this common nomenclature those other terms which might serve to designate other, more specific trends? 2) In the contrary case, what name would you suggest that would be recommendable for its exactitude and possibility of being readily accepted? 3) In your opinion, what is the future of non-figurative art in relation to representative art? Local respondents included Cayetano Córdoba Iturburu (1899-1977), Manuel Mujica Láinez (1910-1984), Gyula Kosice (1924–2016), Juan Del Prete (1897-1987), and Tomás Maldonado (1922). Foreign respondents included Mathias Goeritz (1915-1990), Hans Platschek (1923-2000), Vicente Martín (1911-1998), Ricardo Gullón (1908-1991), Eduardo Westerdhal (1902-1983), and Ángel Ferrant (1890-1961). The links to foreign artists should not only be ascribed to the friendship between Ferrant and Guillermo de Torre, but also to the cultural activities they had undertaken at the Escuela de Altamira en Santillana del Mar [Altamira School at Santillana del Mar, Spain].
Ángel Ferrant was a Spanish painter and sculptor who adhered to the surrealist trend. He taught in La Coruña and, at the end of the 1940s, he became a key artist of the Escuela de Altamira, founded by Mathias Goeritz.
The call for this survey was sent out after the publication of the open letters exchanged between Julio E. Payró and Guillermo de Torre, published in no. 202 of the magazine Sur, in August 1951. At the same time, the controversy continued the debates begun by the presentation of Léon Degand’s exhibition Arte Abstracto, del arte figurativo al arte abstracto [Abstract Art, from Figurative Art to Abstract Art], mounted in Buenos Aires in July 1949, and also by the exhibition introduction written by Guillermo de Torre for the Joaquín Torres-García exhibition in April 1951.
This document was selected because it demonstrates the artist’s position concerning the open debate on abstraction, as well as Payró’s and de Torre’s interest in deepening the discussions on these issues.