Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

During the 1940s, Carlos Mérida’s reflections tend toward abstract art and its protagonists. In this article, the painter states that for those who are not familiar with abstract painting, a symbolic form of interpretation is the most logical. This is a mistake, since abstract art creates visual, organic, and sometimes evocative, but never symbolic shapes; it is never limited to vulgar graphic representations. It is a type of art based on synthesis, directly connected to reality, even if its conclusions go beyond reality itself. For Mérida, one can get a glimpse of reality in the abstraction: the space, the light, the ethnic strength, the tradition, or the dictates of the subconscious do not appear. That is why the work by those great abstractionists conveys to us the exact environment in which they act, in which they were born and have lived. Based on this idea, Mérida gives examples of artists and their abstract characteristics: Kandinsky, Miró, Klée and Picasso. About Rufino Tamayo, and the last works by José Clemente Orozco, as well as his own work, the Guatemalan artist comments that they emphasize evident Americanism.

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Through his writings, Carlos Mérida (1891-1984) creates an overview of more than six decades of artistic activities in Mexico. His vision, highly critical and seductive, reflects the thoughts of someone who not only shares in space-time the different developments of the national artistic activities, but someone whose ideas also contribute new readings and points of analysis that differ from those that characterized his era. In addition to the evolution of the visual arts in Mexico, Mérida wrote, among others, about such topics as caricature, photography, dance, cinema, design, and popular art, from Mexico as well as Guatemala, among others. On the other hand, he made profound pondering about composition, and the sense and function of art.

The article is a cutout from a newspaper that Mérida kept in his files, which has not been located at the Hemeroteca Nacional [National Periodicals and Newspaper Library), a fact that underlines the importance it has for the researcher. However, through his reflective writings and his references to the work of José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949) as well as Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991), it may be dated in the 1940s.

Researcher
Leticia Torres
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
Courtesy of Alma Mérida, Mexico City, México
Location
Donación Alma Mérida : Museo Nacional de Arte, México D. F., México