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Synopsis

In this essay Eugenio Espinoza names nine artists (himself included) who, in his opinion, have distinguished themselves in the field of contemporary art as being creators of a body of work that “is neither art nor anti-art, but something in between that is indifferent to artistic manipulation,” and as being interested in critical and philosophical ideas. Espinoza briefly discusses different types of audiences and the relationship between the artist and the audience. He devotes the rest of his article to reviewing the works and ideas of the artists who participated in Accrochage, the exhibition presented at the Galería Sotavento in Caracas (1991): Alfred Wenemoser, José Antonio Hernández-Diez, Asdrúbal Colmenárez, Pedro Terán, Víctor Lucena, Héctor Fuenmayor, Roberto Obregón, and Sigfredo Chacón. Espinoza’s reviews include ethical and theoretical thoughts on conceptualism.

Annotations

Accrochage, the 1991 exhibition referred to in this essay by Eugenio Espinoza (b. 1950), was a landmark event in the history of Venezuelan contemporary art, in that it presented works derived from conceptual art and expressed in the new languages that emerged during the 1980s, such as: installations, video-art, and the “return to painting.” The essay “Accrochage y algo más” is important for a number of reasons; for one thing, it provides a great deal of information about the participating artists and their work. In his essay, Espinoza discusses his demythologizing ideas about the contemporary artist’s expectations regarding the viewing public, explaining that he does not believe in the romantic concept of “participating viewers.” He also suggests that “today’s modern artist’s” audience is less aware of what the artist does, which means that he must be prepared to operate under inhospitable circumstances, making him more radical and “harder to kill.” In Espinoza’s opinion, conceptual art is art for the elite.

 

1991, the year when Espinoza wrote his essay, is significant. The document is not a conceptualist manifesto in the formal sense of the term; it is more of a reaffirmation of principles and propositions. He states that, in 1984, a group of artists had created Cincoincidentes [an exhibition at the Museo de Barquisimeto] “based on the same premises, though perhaps they were more radical, complex, and even less understood.” Seven years later, Espinoza feels that the experience is almost the same, in its attack on the concept of “a work of art” and its attempt to take over other spaces in order to transcend every type of socio-cultural convention. 

 

Espinoza is one of the few artists of his generation to produce a theoretical corpus, though his writings have not appeared all together in a single publication, and are still scattered in interviews, catalogues, and newspaper articles. For more information on this artist, see Rubén Wisotzki’s interview in the ICAA digital archive: “Quiero que me vean con los ojos, no con los codos: Eugenio Espinoza en la orla del arte” (doc. no. 866278).

Researcher
María Elena Huizi
Team
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Credit
Eugenio Espinoza, 1991
Location
Hemeroteca - Mapoteca Carlos Felice Cardot. Academia Nacional de la Historia. Palacio de Las Academias. Av. Universidad, Esquinas San Francisco, Caracas.