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.
To Fernando Gamboa, the contemporary Mexican painters are not imitators of ancient art; rather their intention is to recreate the past in modern terms. In the Mexican past, they found formal inspiration for creating their own language that resulted in art that is genuinely universal, comprehensible and useful. Contemporary Mexican painting is realistic of necessity, but it is just as far from academic art as it is from abstract art. This realism expresses great freedom and its spirit is creative, original and varied. Furthermore, Gamboa reported that 600,000 people visited the exhibition in Europe, 120,000 of whom now own the illustrated catalog. The majority of the European visitors discovered in Mexican art a way out of the terrible labyrinth of abstract art; in other words: “it represented the expression of an art that approaches the essential truths of human existence.” Therefore, contemporary Mexican painting was presented in Paris as a school, as a whole, as a great movement.
During those years, the curator Fernando Gamboa (1908-1990) took a stance against the School of Paris, which was leading the abstract movement. He considered abstract art an easy way to elude the serious technical and artistic problems of realistic painting. In his opinion, there was a Neo-Realistic countermovement starting to develop at the margins of this formalist trend. Participants in the new movement included Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Fernand Léger (1881-1955) and a group of young painters who declared that they were opposed to the new academicism of abstract art. Gamboa rejected abstract art, which he considered sterile and incapable of expressing matters of human significance.