This document discusses the first show of work by Pablo Solano (1928?2013) at the Museo de Arte Moderno of Bogotá (MAM), and their relationship to the Colombian art scene. In the catalogue to Óleos y Dibujos (1965), Argentine art critic Marta Traba (1923–1983), who lived in Colombia, provides an overview of Solano’s life, discussing the many exhibitions of his work in European cities such as Paris, Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Copenhagen, and Brussels. Traba argues that Solano’s style is the product of his experiences outside Colombia; she asserts that its roots lie with Paul Klee and Wols (Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze).
Despite Traba’s intensive critical work as the director of the Museo de Arte Moderno of Bogotá during its first phase (1962–65), the museum set out to mediate between an array of visual languages and the Colombian viewing public. There was most certainly a place for Pablo Solano in the museum’s fragmentary and heterogeneous vision of modern art.
Traba argues that Solano’s work, unlike art produced on the local scene, is the product of the search for a personal form of expression. It resists, albeit passively, the “formal physical ferocity of the time.” By 1965, the generation of artists that participated in the Salón Intercol (1964)—a generation known as the “second modernists” due to their critical stance—was gaining recognition while also engaging in processes of deformation as they looked to Informalism and made bold use of color and waste material. New spaces were opening up at the core of that generation. In this context, Solano’s work was a rarity. According to the catalogue to Óleos y Dibujos (1965), it “[…] is a form of automatic writing, one more sensitive than rational. His presence in Colombia is wholly jarring.”