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.
Federico Peralta-Ramos and Antonio Berni are shown in a photograph drinking “maté” as a cover for an exhibition catalogue. In his brief presentation, Berni updates both aspects of the Surrealistic approach to what is underneath the things as well as popular works that—according to him— are mirroring Angst of collective consciousness.
Antonio Berni (Rosario de Santa Fe, 1905–Buenos Aires, 1981). He began studying in Europe in 1925, establishing himself in Paris, where he came into contact with both the Surrealist avant-garde and Communism. Upon returning to Argentina in 1932, he exhibited his Surrealist works at Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art]. The following year, he joined the Equipo Poligráfico Ejecutor [Lead Polygraphic Team] formed by David Alfaro Siqueiros in order to carry out the mural Ejercicio Plástico [Visual Exercise]. Berni developed his New Realism theory out of politically and socially committed art grounded in transcendent realism. In 1944 he created the Taller de Arte Mural [Mural Art Workshop]. In the 1950s, Berni conceived paintings dealing with the rural community, in particular in the northern province of Santiago del Estero, and also began his narrative collage series Juanito Laguna. In 1962 he won the Grand Prize for Engraving and Drawing at the Venice Biennial. The following year, he began his Ramona Montiel series. In the 1960s and 1970s, while he continued with his paintings, collages, and engravings, Berni created objects, installations, and happenings; he also explored diverse stylistic variants of realist representation. Federico Manuel Peralta-Ramos (1939–92) was a paradigmatic artist of the 1960s generation, chiefly in the nexus between art and life. From his production, what is outstanding involves the precariousness of matter in painting, the installation Nosotros afuera [We, the Outsiders] shown at Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, in 1965, and a broad idea of conceptual art that stems from writing. In 1968, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He used the scholarship funds for a lavish dinner at Hotel Alvear and the acquisition of some artworks; this provoked an internal bickering with the North American institution. Then he wrote the Mandamientos Gánicos [Feel-like-it Commandments]. Since 1969, Peralta-Ramos appears and carries out performances in TV shows. In 1970, he records what he names his non-figurative songs: “Soy un pedazo de atmósfera” [“I am a little piece of atmosphere”] and “Tengo algo adentro que se llama el coso” [I have something in my innermost called the thingumajig”]. In 1972, Peralta-Ramos unveiled his art at the CAyC (Centro de Arte y Comunicación) [Art and Communication Center] in order to state his concept “the object is the subject”. This is an important document because of the group exhibition Berni and Peralta-Ramos, gathered together by a common interest in popular culture. Peralta-Ramos presents the work Tumba de Tutankamon [Tutankhamun’sTomb], a golden iron room with a mattress and a living mummy (represented by Ithacar Jali). At the same time, Berni’s ambience makes a tribute of La Difunta Correa [The Late Mrs. Correa]. Both the playful and parodical gist of popular movies underscored by Peralta-Ramos’s work goes in over opposition to the concept written by Berni. He understands all imagery from popular culture as a underlying reflection of the anguished collective consciousness. This is a controversial show, since it took place during the Argentinean military dictatorship (1976–83), even though, for sure, its conception must have been previous to the coup d’état of March 24. Furthermore, the document possesses an interesting reading on Surrealism, a movement to which Berni had approached in Paris (1928) during his first trip to Europe.