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 the symposium entitled Hacia otra ruta hacia Siqueiros [Towards Another Route Towards Siqueiros] and organized by Curare, Esther Acevedo presented a paper in which she dealt with landscapes in the work of David Alfaro Siqueiros. This facet of the artist is little valued despite the fact that her investigation revealed that landscapes comprise approximately 20 percent of his production on easel. In the author’s opinion, Siqueiros did not cling to a univocal definition of the “landscape” but rather considered it a means to formal experimentation and new materials. In each decade of his work, a different manner of using the space can be discerned, of incorporating photography and of making the most of paint drippings in order to produce scenes of the disasters and achievements of humanity. In particular, Acevedo analyzes the work Explosión de la ciudad [Explosion in the City] (“1935”) as the key piece of her argument, despite the fact that since the 1960s, various art critics had considered it a premonition of atomic disaster. The author nevertheless notes that the painting at stake was not exhibited nor published in any catalogue from that era. Through an exhaustive analysis, it becomes evident that the artist himself pre-dated his work by ten years, thus altering his trajectory through history by imposing a different reading of reality. In the painting, a “3” is physically placed over the “4,” thus altering the original date, “1945,” by a decade.
The radical approach of this article stems from the need to investigate documentary sources and use laboratory analysis in order to reconstruct an event: to never take for granted the testimonies offered by artists themselves. The author highlights the historical implications of dating Explosión de la ciudad as “1935,” ten years before its production (1945), as well as the explicit intentions of the artist to do so deliberately. From his beginnings and first manifestos (1921-33), David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974) referred to works on easel in a deprecatory manner. By contrast, he defended the public mural work in multiple lectures and interviews against what he called paintings produced for the bourgeoisie. Nevertheless, the fact that the author reports the number and whole gamut of paintings on easel and the genres in which the artist worked permits an overt confrontation of the artist’s monumentalist rhetoric.