The text presented by Juan Pablo Renzi at the Primer Encuentro Nacional de Arte de Vanguardia [First National Encounter of Vanguard Art] is defined as an “attempt to bring about the grounds for the proposed agenda” and presents a framework for the discussion. The purpose is to “extract our point of view from the direct experience we have all gone through during these most recent times and which has made us consider a “situation at full stretch.” In order to do this right, Renzi believes it is important that the “discussion establish the basis of, not a general theory of art, but a theory that specifically guides and clarifies our future action.” His theoretical-political reference is Marxism. The text defines his “conviction that the general theory of Marxism, with its modernizations and derivations, the materialistic and dialectic conception of history and reality... is the best possible form of interpreting reality.”
Renzipoints out that the revolutionary character of the artwork is not in the subjective intention of its creator, or its message, but in the effectiveness of the work in the milieu where it is produced and the public to which it is addressed. He also believes that the rapid succession of experimental trends is a voluntary resource of the emerging vanguard artist groups to avoid being absorbed by institutionalized art. Besides, Renzi points out that “the vanguard’s conception as a disquieting insertion in the bourgeois cultural schemes inevitably collides with an until-now historically irreversible phenomenon...the loss of virulence...and the sure absorption and consumption of these products by those who were intended as the targets of the attack.”
Therefore, it becomes inevitable for the group to split with “the brokers” and with the institutions of the “bourgeois culture,” so that it is necessary for them to find an alternative space to develop the new art. It is considered that it is only outside of the scope of artistic institutions that the experimental vanguard may be able to maintain its revolutionary character. In addition, the political characterization that the triumph of the revolution is imminent and inevitable drives Renzi to state that—upon the definite severing of ties with the “bourgeois culture”—a phase of “transition works” will be opening, since “a new social context will provide shelter for our works of art.”
Upon considering this phase an imminent revolutionary resolution, the question about the type of relations that the vanguard groups should establish with artistic and non-artistic institutions is brought forward. The answer establishes several phases in a sequence that includes from the rupture with the prestige mechanism and the institutions with which the bourgeois control the cultural phenomenon, to the conscious incorporation to the group work of political actions and class struggles. There is also the definition of the function of intellectuals within society, from when they become conscious of the impossibility of remaining outside the course of history, up to the definition of whether they want to be “for or against the revolution.”
As to the characteristics that will describe the new work, Renzi proposes the search for “a work that, assuming that ideological enunciations are easily absorbable, will transform ideology into a real fact, beginning from its own structure.” It will be about “a type of work that produces similar effects to a political act,” and for that purpose, it needs not be limited to the presence of pre-determined contents. In order for the work to effectively affect the consciousness of its receivers, it is unavoidable for it to resort to repulsive, perturbing and even a violent treatment of the material employed in the work.
The references to armed struggle are not only metaphorical. Renziis very explicit in that respect: “the future social change to which we aspire can only be reached by an armed popular revolution.” This is not only about political definitions, but also an artistic program that adopts “violence as an aesthetic language.”