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Synopsis

Damián Bayón provides a far-reaching reading of Cubism on the basis of an exhibition held at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris that ran from February to April 1953. Before delving into specific concerns, he explains the overall perspective of his analysis. He states that Cubism cannot be reduced to a question of movements, sub-movements or artists, but must be understood in terms of “… the repercussions that this new conception of space, time and reality has had on a diverse group of painters.” He goes on to say that “neither art history nor artists appear out of nowhere” and thus, the problems evidenced by a new visual vocabulary, “a new appreciation of the world” have a specific history. On this basis, he proposes that “we conceive of each term in history as an amalgam of endless forces… [When that conception is] applied to art, the complex and harmonious approach to human relations in the comprehension of a moment or problem serves to avoid the risk of a purely visual conception and of […] the alignments that have given rise to so much literature.” Bayón furthers this critical position at the end of the article when he mentions the intellectuals who have influenced him: Georg Schmidt, Pierre Francastel, and Jorge Romero Brest, all of which “are quintessential” to “the tendency to reformulate problems and analyze them in a different light … [stemming from] knowledge of the studies of other sciences.”

Annotations

Damián Carlos Bayón (1915–95), art critic, author of many books, and professor, had a PhD in history, and was a disciple of Jorge Romero Brest. In 1948, he cofounded Ver y estimar [See and Ponder], a journal that Brest directed. In 1949, Bayón moved to Paris, where he continued to contribute to the journal until 1955, when it closed. During those years, he worked with theorist Pierre Francastel.

Ver y estimar was published during two distinct periods: from 1948 to 1953, when thirty-four issues were released; and from 1954 to 1955, when ten were published. This journal set out to provide broad training in art criticism to both its readership and the disciples of Romero Brest who worked for it. The articles in the journal discussed artists, exhibitions, and issues relevant to the local and international art milieus, as well as different historical periods. 

In this important document, Bayón explains his critical perspective and his method of analysis, both of which he applies to the specific case of Cubism.

Researcher
Natalia Pineau.
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit
Courtesy of Centro Damián Carlos Bayón del Instituto de América de Santa Fé, Granada, España
Location
Fundación Espigas.