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 document is an interview with Antonio Berni in which he describes the relationship between the landscapes he painted in the 1950s and the collages of his Juanito Laguna and Ramona Montiel series. He also comments on some aspects of his engraving technique.
One of the most outstanding creators in 20th century Argentina is undoubtedly the Rosario born Antonio Berni (1905-81). He studied in Europe beginning in 1925, [and] while living in Paris he connected with the surrealist avant-garde as well as with communism. Upon his return to Argentina, he exhibited surrealist works at the Amigos del Arte [Friends of Art] in 1932. The following year Berni joined the Equipo Polígrafo [Polygraphic Team] (organized by David Alfaro Siqueiros) that went on to create the mural Ejercicio Plástico [Visual Arts Exercise] at Don Torcuato, in the outskirts of Buenos Aires. He developed his theory of Nuevo Realismo [New Realism], art with a political and social commitment, which was based on a transcendent realism. In 1944, Berni formed the Taller de Arte Mural [Mural Art Workshop]. During the 1950s, he created paintings of the peasantry, in particular those of the northern province of Santiago del Estero, which gave rise to his Juanito Laguna series of narrative collage paintings. In 1962, the artist won the Grand Prize for Engraving and Drawing at the Venice Biennale. The following year Berni began his Ramona Montiel series. During the 1960s and 1970s—at the same time that he was continuing to produce paintings, collages and engravings—he created objects, installations and happenings; he also explored different stylistic variations of realist figuration.This interview of Antonio Berni, which took place in 1968—a key year for Argentine art—addresses the exhibition of landscapes he had executed between 1952 and 1957, presented at the Galería Rubbers of Buenos Aires, under the guidance of Natalio Povarché, the majority of which had not previously been exhibited. It is interesting to analyze the relationship that the artist established with his landscapes (as the Third World reality from which Juanito Laguna arose), and his later work that came after these (such as the missing human element). Berni also touches upon the technical aspects of his work, in particular the xylo-collage relief. As compared to other interviews that took place later, at the end of the 1970s, this document shows how Berni used different concepts to refer to his work; here the principal concept is Third World art, which implies a token of its political nature.The interview is not signed, but it should be noted that Jorge Glusberg (1932-2012) was a contributor to the art criticism section of Análisis, a weekly magazine devoted to political and economic commentary.