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.
Within the 1968 Itinerary, that is the sequence of actions and definitions led by the Argentine vanguard in its accelerated process of artistic and political radicalization, the Primer Encuentro de Arte de Vanguardia is the greatest instance of self-reflection on the state of the break up of with artistic institutions. The artists of Rosario and Buenos Aires gathered together in Rosario, on the weekend of August 10th and 11th in a meeting that demonstrated the density of the process of elaboration and debate on the political and aesthetic ideas of the 1968 Itinerary, and that indicated the self-awareness of the artists regarding the situación límite” [point-of-no-return] in which they found themselves.The intensity of the ruptures they were leading placed them outside (and even in opposition to) the modernizing circuit with which they had coexisted until that time. This displacement, the abandonment of known places and supports (physical, material, institutional) was lived by the artists with a very marked self-reflective attitude. This attitude could already be perceived in their writings (manifestos, flyers, and letters) that accompanied their actions throughout the 1968 Itinerary. But it was undoubtedly the Encuentro I that brought the collective together, as well as other important intellectuals, within a space for discussion and elaboration.The Encuentro was characterized by the will to create a larger collective —beyond the groups, workshops, friendships, and affinities that already existed—that would unite the artists of the national vanguard. It also placed the artists within a space of production and elaboration based on theory, which was not customary within the arts field. They did not come together to create a work or organize an exhibition; they convened in order to evaluate their current place and the direction they should take. The four papers presented for debate at the Encuentro I had a common denominator: they tried to form alternatives within the framework for the debate on “el lugar del arte en el proceso politico revolucionario” [the place of art within the revolutionary political process] for artistic activity that would make effective contributions to the outright transformation of reality. This defense of art and formal experimentation not only contrasted with the variants of political art and the depoliticized or playful vanguard components that then existed in Argentina, but above all, it was an alternative (ephemeral to be sure) to the option that was imposed within the same vanguard just a short time later, when the space occupied by the political dimension did not allow for the possibility of intervening in the public sphere with methods and logic of the artistic vanguard.