In this second article, Marta Traba (1923−83) addresses several important points concerning the Taller Torres García (TT-G) and the universalist theory upon which it was founded. But in this particular article Traba takes a step back from her earlier strong critique of the constructive system, referring quite frankly to the positive aspects she sees in the work of the artist who had recently arrived in Bogotá. In this article, Julio Alpuy (1919−2009) is not viewed solely as a member of the Escuela del Sur or the TT-G; instead, Traba analyzes him as an individual with his own artistic voice. She even suggests that he has managed to distance himself from the influence of the Torres García system in his work.
In Traba’s opinion, Alpuy’s work—steeped in undeniable loyalty to and honesty about his teacher—is a far cry from the modern approach favored by artists of his period. Traba claims that the constant attempt to “portray the Indian, but use these new forms invented by the Europeans”—described in her article as a [Latin] American modernist style—is absent from the work of this Uruguayan artist. In fact, his work makes it surprisingly difficult for the critic to recognize forms derived from European trends (such as Cubism or Expressionism), as distinct from what according to Traba is commonly found in the work of Colombian artists, such as Alejandro Obregón (1920−90) or Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar (1922−2004).
However, and in spite of this faint praise, Traba once again reiterates her view that students of the orthodox teachings of Joaquín Torres García (1875−1949) are condemned to a fatalistic future. She considers them to be followers of a dogma rather than a pictorial system, which will make it difficult for them to find personal freedom and a style of their own.
This text by Marta Traba should be read in conjunction with the article: “Torres García en Bogotá” .