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Gertrudis Chale writes to Libero Badii about her stay in the Peruvian city of Arequipa. She mentions the Indianist Peruvian artists José Sabogal and Julia Codesido, commenting sensitively on the native and popular art, seminal concerns of her work.
Libero Badii (Arezzo, Italy, 1916-Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2001) primarily developed sculpture with symbolic meanings. In the1950s, his work was impacted formally by Pre-Columbian art after a trip through Latin America. He elaborated his concept of "the sinister," both as a form of knowledge and of feeling. He called his studio-workshop Almataller [SoulShop].
Gertrudis Chale (Vienna, 1898-La Rioja, Argentina, 1954). After being educated in Vienna, she worked in France and Spain. In 1934, Chale moved to Buenos Aires, escaping Fascism. She traveled around Argentina on numerous trips and in 1945 made a critical trip to Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador that shaped her conception of Americanness.
This document is important for understanding the impact of what is Native in America on the European artists living in Argentina. Gertrudis Chale is a rarely studied artist-despite the pictorial uniqueness of her work-heir to both European expressionism and to the realist painting of Buenos Aires. In the early-1950s, her work is an interesting counterpoint to that produced by Antonio Berni (1905–81), Ramón Gómez Cornet (1898-1961), and Leónidas Gambartes (1909-63), because she shares the political content of the first two and the symbolic perception of the last one. Her outlook on popular art is in tune with that of several artists-also people who escaped from Fascism-like the Spaniard Luis Seoane (1910-79), with whom she shared the 1950s muralist practice. On the other hand, Chale paid attention to not only the native but also to its inclusion in Peruvian contemporary art. Her relationship with Líbero Badii, as evinced in these letters, allows us to think of her as a link to Badii's search into Americanness.