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 essay, Octavio Paz discusses the dreamy, surrealist nature of the work of Alberto Gironella. Paz points out that Gironella’s art is situated between the word and the image, and this is why he defines him as a poet of visual images: a “painter/poet.” Yet, in spite of Gironella’s relationship with the word as emphasized by Paz, one of the qualities of his painting is indeed that it does not tell stories. The poet/essayist categorizes Gironella’s work as typically modern due to its critical and polemical nature, focusing on the way the painter juxtaposes pre-Columbian Mexico with the Spanish world. What is more, in Paz’s opinion, Gironella pushes the envelope when he superimposes the seventeenth century on the twentieth century.
This essay was written in the summer of 1978 and was originally published in the book, México en la obra de Octavio Paz [Mexico in the Work of Octavio Paz] (Mexico City: Promociones Editoriales Mexicanas, 1979). Octavio Paz (1914-1998) was one of the writers who exercised the greatest influence on what was known as the Ruptura generation, of which Alberto Gironella (1929-1999) was a member. Through his writings as well as personal relationships, Paz was a mentor to the young avant-garde artists in this movement. In a milieu that ranged from indifferent to hostile, these young artists were in need of guidance from intellectuals and artists of prior generations. Among other things, Paz encouraged their right to visual experimentation, proposing a new aesthetic for Mexican art. He also supported their wish to participate in the tradition of Western culture as well as in the international modern art scene. On this basis, it may be said that Paz was one of the earliest and strongest defenders of Mexican avant-garde artists of the mid-twentieth century. He took this stance vis-à-vis the close-mindedness of the traditional intellectual circles, and the nationalists and/or leftists who dismissed the young artists, deeming them “cosmopolitan,” “anti-Mexican” and apolitical. Paz’s interest in the members of what was called the Ruptura would not decline with time. Even when these artists had been recognized, around the 1970s, the poet continued to write about their work, as is shown in this essay.