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 1981, Eduardo Serrano, the director of the Museo de Arte Moderno of Bogotá at the time, wrote a profile introducing to the Colombian public the life and work of young artist Miguel Ángel Rojas, which in Serrano’s view are intrinsically bound together. Serrano provides a formal and conceptual description of some of the works that Rojas produced from 1970 to 1980, remarking on the diversity of media employed (drawing, printmaking, photography, and “environments”), and the experimental nature of the work. Serrano associates Rojas’s work with certain strains of contemporary art, such as photorealism, which had considerable influence in South America. In Serrano’s view, the tie between Rojas’s work and photorealism lies in the use of a photographic point of reference; he also points out differences, specifically due to the critical stance of Rojas’s work with that of other Latin American artists. The article closes with a review of Grano [Grain], the most recent work by Rojas exhibited at the Museo de Arte Moderno of Bogotá at the invitation of the curator. After this analysis, Serrano comments on the relationship between art and realism, art and personal expression, and finally, art and the avant-garde.
This article was published in 1981, which was after a decade in which many Colombian artists returned to two dimensional work and figuration, and therefore, representation. For some critics, including Serrano, most of this work was facile and conservative. This article forms part of a debate taking place in Colombia at the time about the concept of realism, which some believed had to go beyond academic imitation of reality on the basis of observation, as well as the limitation of the testimonial, and of social criticism. In Colombia, reflection on the connection between art and reality made way for art that displaced the artist’s “craft,” for intellectual and conceptual work. As an art columnist, Eduardo Serrano (b. 1939) wrote for the newspaper, El Tiempo (Bogotá, 1972–74) and on occasion for Revista del Arte y la Arquitectura (Medellín, 1979–81), and was a curator, first at the Belarca gallery (Bogotá, 1969–76), and then at the Museo de Arte Moderno (1972–94). He supported young artists in the seventies, especially those who ventured to produce what he called “avant-garde” work, which experimented with concepts (ephemeral art) and media (photography, installation, and performance) hitherto absent from the Colombian art scene. Unlike artists who deal with reality on the basis of strictly academic parameters, Miguel Ángel Rojas (b. 1946) produces work that combines craft and experimentation. In Grano, Rojas introduces a divergent realism; he interprets and addresses reality in a conceptual way by making use of technical tools as related to drawing, printmaking, photography, and “environments” (environmental spaces that would now be called “installations”).