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.
As explained in the meeting’s program, presented by Juan Pablo Renzi (with the consensus of at least the Rosario artists), the object of this debate is to articulate “a theory that specifically orients and clarifies our future field of action.” All of them agree with the fact that the latest artistic-political actions put their protagonists into a new and different position, without any possibility of return to either the institutions, or, much less, to “bourgeois culture.” They agree on a new perspective: the search for “a new field,” “a new function,” and “new materials that will carry out that function” in order to reach “a new expression that will produce the ideological conscience of the artist within its structure.” This “new aesthetic” borrows from the ideas of the historical avant-garde the intention of fusing art and life. To them, this implies a revolutionary concept of art production.
Among the actions and definitions of the emerging Argentinean vanguard groups in their Itinerario del ’68 [Timetable for 1968], the Primer Encuentro de Arte de Vanguardia [First Encounter of the Vanguard Art] stands out as the occasion on which these artists demonstrated the greatest self-reflection regarding their position after their rupture with artistic institutions. The artists from Rosario and Buenos Aires convened in the former. Throughout the weekend of August 10–11, a meeting took place that shows the density of the discussion process regarding the aesthetic and political ideas proposed by the Timetable for 1968, in which the visual artists express self-consciousness regarding the “extreme situation” in which they find themselves at that time.
The intensity of the ruptures in which they had a leading role placed them outside of—or even in opposition to—the modernizing circle with which they had co-existed until then. These artists display a markedly self-reflective attitude regarding their displacement, as well as the abandonment of the venues and lack of support (physical, material, and institutional) on which they had counted to produce art. This attitude is perceived in the writings (manifestos, fliers, and letters) they included in their interventions throughout the Timetable for 1968, but it is most evident in the scope of discussion at the group’s Primer Encuentro event, a discussion in which other important intellectuals would join.
The Encuentro evidenced the groups will to organize greater collective action, surpassing the existing groups, workshops, friendships, and affinities, through which the country’s emerging vanguard artists’ groups could be reunited. Indeed, this implies the set up of artists in a specific position of producing theory, something unheard of in the visual art’s milieu. They did not gather in order to carry out a work of art or to organize an exhibition; they gathered in order to evaluate where they stood and what direction they should take in order to direct their efforts.