“Cronología del itinerario de 1968,” December 1968. Mimeographed copy. Personal archive of Graciela Carnevale, Rosario.
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This chronology begins in January and February of 1968, the starting point of the vanguard artists’ radicalization of that year, with a series of informal discussions about “the possibility of creating a cultural phenomenon” that would be “shocking” and that “dissolves the ethical and aesthetic principles of society” and would help produce, relative to the arts, a new type of society through “alternative cultural strategies.”
Next, the timetable mentions Eduardo Ruano’s violent intervention at the Premio Ver y Estimar [To See and Ponder Magazine Award] in May (which actually took place in April 30), besides the works presented in Experiencias ‘68 [The 1968 Visual Practices] at the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella, plus the collective reaction to the closing by the police of one of the works and the beginning of the Ciclo de Arte Experimental [Experimental Art Cycle] in Rosario.
The author notes that the boycott began with the Braque Prize, coordinated by the artists from Rosario and Buenos Aires in June.
In July, the ”asalto” [disruption] to the lecture by Jorge Romero-Brest in Rosario stands out, as well as the incidents during the opening of the 1968 Premio Braque (organized by the French embassy in Argentina).
In August, the Primer Encuentro Nacional de Artistas de Vanguardia [First National Encounter of Vanguard Artist] takes place, with the purpose of proposing and developing common actions in what they defined as a “culture of subversion.” In a second encounter, which took place in Buenos Aires, the artists agree to produce a collective work in relation to the Tucumán crisis.
In September and October, the Ciclo de Arte Experimental in Rosario continues and includes works that pay homage to Ernesto “Che” Guevara on the first anniversary of his murder. Ten artists travel to Tucumán to research and gather documentation regarding the existing situation. Before leaving the province, they call for a roundtable discussion, denouncing the official policy.
In November, the Tucumán Arde [Tucumán Is Burning] show was inaugurated at the Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) [The General Confederation of Labour] in Rosario. The intention was to turn the exhibition into a “permanent political act.” A large group of people attended, photographic panels were mounted, films and audiovisuals presentations were projected, and several different mimeographed materials were handed out. Just a few hours after the show was inaugurated in Buenos Aires, a police ultimatum forced them to take it down.
The conclusion that this Timetable is that “new action methods must be raised again in order to propose legal and underground actions at the same time to avoid repression. Last, the chronology includes a selection of documents, manifestos, letters, and other writings from that year by the Rosario and Buenos Aires artists.
This chronology, probably prepared in December 1968, shows the degree of self-awareness of the protagonist group that led the Timetable for 1968 that united the artists from Rosario and Buenos Aires. The events of the year are reviewed month by month, showing an intense artistic and political radicalization. The document lists the actions, definitions, and debates that have taken the artists to a point of no return in their split with artistic institutions. Also, trying to understand where they could move beyond the fringes of any conventional artistic space. This process is called El Itinerario del ’68 [Timetable for 1968]. That is, a sequence of productions and public interventions that took place between April and December of that year, which highlights the fusion of various groups of experimental visual artists shifting from an alternative stance to one of opposition. This shift happens not only in relation to artistic institutions, but also with regard to the military regime, and even to the capitalist system.