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.
The Exposición Internacional del Surrealismo [International Exhibition of Surrealism] opened in 1940 at the Mexico City gallery owned by Inés Amor. André Breton, although absent, had organized the exhibition. His phrase “La belleza será convulsiva o no será” [Beauty will be convulsive or it will not be.] introduces the catalog and was meant as a cryptic reference to Mexico. The Peruvian poet César Moro and the Mexico-based Austrian painter, Wolfgang Paalen had taken care of the practical aspects of the exhibition. The catalog was bilingual and its back cover featured a seductive offer: “an apparition of the great nocturnal Sphinx, clairvoyant clocks, radioactive frames, burnt invitations.” Moro wrote the introduction to the catalog dated November 1939. After outlining the origins of the avant-garde and the central role of Surrealism, he explained how the show fit within the mechanics of international Surrealist exhibitions that had taken place in various countries. Paalen—for whom a number of works fundamental to the exhibition were lacking due to transportation problems—wrote a second essay for the catalog. It includes a list of the works and is illustrated by a good number of images.
After an attempt on his life at Coyoacán—organized by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) himself,— Leon Trotsky (Lev Davidovich Bronstein, 1879-1940) was finally murdered in August of the following year. If André Breton (1896-1966) had harbored any political aspirations in Mexico—the resistance territory or “red land!” as he called it—they surely came to an end with Trotsky’s death.