With support from Alberto Sierra, the Peruvian art critic, Juan Acha (1916?95), based in Mexico, invited critics, artists and theoreticians to the I Coloquio de Arte No Objetual [First Symposium on Abstract Art], organized by the recently founded Museo de Arte Moderno [Museum of Modern Art] of Medellín (MAMM).
At the symposium, Mirko Lauer (b. 1947) offered a reading of the work of Walter Benjamin (1892?1940) on experimental artwork, taking into account the specific elements of the milieu of creation. Lauer maintains that the “immateriality” of the artwork depends on the social means of acquiring knowledge and production in that social locale. From there, he goes on to construct a general thesis of Abstract art. As opposed to other participants in the symposium, such as Nelly Richard, Néstor García Canclini (b. 1939) and María Elena Ramos, the writer includes U.S. and European aesthetic developments. He develops “a specific case” of Latin American art, which casts a light on tensions such as art vs. capitalism and Conceptualism vs. Object-centered art. Regarding Colombia, Lauer’s text allows him to identify certain elements in the creation processes of artists such as Adolfo Bernal (1954?2008) and María Teresa Cano (b. 1960)—both in attendance at the symposium. In the 1980s, these two artists developed Abstract art practices oriented to the experience of living in the city.
In his texts, Mirko Lauer, a Peruvian theoretician of art, aesthetics and literature, develops arguments focused on the cultural object in industrial capitalism, following a path laid out by the group known as the Frankfurt School. He is well known for his literary criticism and discussions on experimental Latin American art. In one of his books, Crítica a la artesanía [Criticism of Craftwork] (1982), Lauer analyzes the aesthetic modes used in popular Latin American art.
At the Encuentro Internacional Medellín 2007: Prácticas artísticas contemporáneas [International Meeting Medellín 2007: Contemporary Art Practices], it was announced that there was a plan to publish notes from the I Coloquio de Arte No Objetual.