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.
In this article, divided into eight sections, Wolfgang Paalen identifies the most representative image from a number of different periods, reviewing the Middle-Ages period, the Renaissance, and Modern times. He notes that, when faced with a radical transformation of a culture’s intellectual customs, the artist focuses on theoretical questions. The theory does not apply to artists working at a time when there is a stable system of coordinated intellectual activity sustained by commonly accepted values. Paalen does not think that there is any such system at this point in history because society is deeply severed and its intellectual concerns are expressed through a variety of contradictory movements. Ever since photography has been able to use mechanical means to reflect reality, all efforts to portray reality have been subordinated to the concept of a photographic likeness, which is why the artists of our period strive for authenticity. Paalen also states that, as far as he is concerned, Surrealism demolished the barrier separating poetry from the visual arts and that this enabled certain Surrealist artists, such as Giorgio De Chirico, to perceive a new facet of reality.
The first issue of DYN magazine appeared in 1942, published by the Austrian artist Wolfgang Paalen (1905-59) while he was living in exile in Mexico. Paalen, an artist and theoretician, came to Mexico in 1939 with his wife Alice Rahon (1904-87) at the express invitation of Diego Rivera (1886-1957) and Frida Kahlo (1907-54). Shortly thereafter he organized the first Surrealist exhibition in Mexico (1940) at the Galería de Arte Mexicano (GAM). DYN magazine, which was published as a quarterly from 1942 to 1944, carried articles written in French and English since, although it was published in Mexico, it was never intended for a Mexican readership. It was mainly circulated in New York and London, and its list of contributors included Alice Rahon, Edward Renouf, Eva Sulzer, César Moro, Manuel Álvarez Bravo and Miguel Covarrubias, Henry Moore and Alexander Calder. The following year one of the contributors, Robert Motherwell, joined Paalen to launch another magazine, Form and Sense (1945).