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.
This brief text refers to a 1935 newspaper article by Manuel Abril about the Concurso Nacional de Escultura [National Sculpture Contest] whose theme was “Conmemoración a Lope de Vega” [In Remembrance of Lope de Vega]. Abril reports that the results were dismal because the participants’ insensitive submissions revealed a sense of academic apathy—with the exception of works by the sculptor Antonio Ballester. Fresh and elegant, his pieces conveyed a discreet, low-key sense of unfettered avant-garde creation. In Abril’s opinion, Ballester shone as the creator of religious images in this exhibition-contest by submitting a portrayal of the Birth in the form of a procession that was accompanied by “the poetry of Lope de Vega.” To further illustrate his opinion, the writer refers to photographs of the sculptor’s early work that already expressed his boldness and traditional leaning in spite of the rampant artistic censorship during those tumultuous days just before the outbreak of the Spanish civil war.
In 1932 the Valencian sculptor Antonio Ballester Villaseca (1910–1990), with Josep Renau and Francisco Carreño, founded the Unión de Artistas Proletarios [Proletarian Artists Union], thus demonstrating his political commitment and his avant-garde sensitivity. It should be noted that this article mentions his incarceration in 1939 as the civil war came to an end; he spent time in a jail in Valencia along with many young members of the Escuela Valenciana [Valencian School]. On his release, Ballester made a living by creating religious images. In 1946 he went into exile in Mexico where he worked with the architect Félix Candela, who was also an exile.