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 one-and-a-half column article written in 1944 by Colombian artist Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo precedes Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros’s text, “Finalidad técnico-social del nuevo arte mural en América.” Together they comprise two pages of the magazine; they are accompanied by three reproductions of works by Siqueiros: Historia de México [History of Mexico], a fragment of that work, and Historia de Chile [History of Chile] at the Escuela de México-Chile in Chillán. There is also a portrait of Siqueiros by Gómez Jaramillo. Jaramillo describe Siqueiros as a revolutionary of art at the forefront of “new universal aesthetic principles.” He speaks of the murals that Siqueiros made in southern Chile that illustrate the article, projects to which Colombian artist Alipio Jaramillo also contributed. In the text, Gómez Jaramillo criticizes the Colombian State for not supporting painters, as well as the Colombian art scene which he believes is held back by “academic prejudices” that hinder the development of muralism as an art for the masses.
Starting in the 1920s, Colombian artists and intellectuals drew inspiration from Mexico. Muralism was held up as a new art form, rather than as a tool of propaganda. Because it was seen as an art for the masses, muralism was widely discussed in the magazine Espiral. Indeed, the composition of the magazine editorial board in its first stage illustrates this interest in muralism; members included Colombian artists Ignacio Gómez Jaramillo (1910–1970), Luis B. Ramos (1899–1955), Luis Alberto Acuña (1904–1984), and Marco Ospina (1912–1983), all of whom supported muralism. Thus, Gómez Jaramillo’s introduction, as well as the reproduction of the text by Siqueiros, reinforces this support for muralism as an art for the masses. For Siqueiros, the notion of the “technical-social end” [that appears in the text’s title] refers to the idea of a technique that allows for the development of a public art whose production is in keeping with current social conditions. Siqueiros advocates a form of art that replaces academic art, which he considers the expression of the “plutocracy” and a “delicacy solely for oligarchs.” Meanwhile, Gómez Jaramillo “speaks” through Siqueiros, since he was able to make fewer than a dozen murals, two of which were censored. Due to funding from the Colombian government, Gómez Jaramillo had traveled to Mexico in 1936 to study mural painting, and the works of Rivera, Orozco, and Siqueiros. While there, he took part in a mural project at the Centro Escolar Revolución in Arcos de Belem (Mexico City). In 1940, as the director of the Escuela de Bellas Artes of Bogotá, he instituted mural painting as a subject of study. In the late forties, he returned to Mexico where he continued studying mural painting for a short time until he was removed from his diplomatic post. Later in Colombia, he wrote a number of articles on Siqueiros, and other mural artists.