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.
This essay by Peruvian painter Emilio Goyburu forms part of the debates on the meaning of abstraction on the basis of “aesthetic experience” (Goyburu’s term). For him, aesthetic pleasure is produced through “vital sensations” in response to forms and colors; he considers “non-figurative” painting the best means of conveying those sensations. Because created out of “inner need,” “spiritual” forms transpose “the immaterial” into “the perceivable.” Insofar as those forms are subjective, they reflect the artist’s inner need as well as his individuality. Abstraction has created a world for art whose beauty is based solely on personal contents and on rigorous adherence to visual laws. In his view, in abstract work color is not at the service of the values dominant in figurative art; it thus takes on unprecedented purity and intensity where the only consideration is chromatic harmony. He closes by quoting Plato, “Pure beauty is found only in geometric forms and pure colors.”
Throughout his career, painter and caricaturist Emilio Goyburu (1897–1958) was close to the most modern tendencies in the Lima milieu. In opposition to Indianism, the dominant tendency in the 1920s, Goyburu’s work—his illustrations for Lima-based magazines Amauta (1926–30) and Jarana (1927), for instance—bore the influence of Cubism. While, in the thirties, he veered towards the prevailing nativist figuration, by the early fifties his style was more and more concise and less and less figurative. Indeed, he was one of the pioneers of abstract art in Peru. Due to his commitment to modern art, he wrote texts that conveyed the postulates of abstraction. The theoretical, as opposed to polemic, approach of those texts—an approach not common in Lima at the time—evidences the influence of Wassily Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1911).
[For additional information, see in the ICAA digital archive the following texts by Goyburu: “Cuatro edades de la pintura (doc. no. 1150294), “Un nuevo prejuicio (?)” (doc. no. 1150326), “Un nuevo monumento en Lima” (doc. no. 1143291), and “El color en las diversas artes” (doc. no. 859948)].