This essay was inspired by a series of discussions that focused on the “place” in which Latin American art actually operates, in an attempt to show the central role that the idea of “cartography” plays in the evaluation of artistic practices in the Americas. A review of Latin American art approached from that perspective would allow for a closer reading of its specifics, thus avoiding the stereotypes that have been constructed.
The Argentine art historian María Angélica Melendi (who has lived in Brazil since 1975), has specialized in teaching and researching the visual arts, specifically those of a political nature (a pursuit that prompted her departure from her homeland). Melendi suggests that a review of the kind described above would open up a range of initiatives such as those undertaken by the Bienal do Mercosul (Porto Alegre, Brazil), the Instituto Arte das Américas (Belo Horizonte, Brazil), and MALBA (Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires), three institutions that address questions concerning Latin American art as an integral part of their inquiries and their research.
As a related matter, it should be noted that “De adversidade vivemos”—the slogan from a well-known Parangolé by Hélio Oiticica (1965–69)—was used by Melendi as a referent in the title of her essay.
For further information on this subject, that was widely discussed at the time, and was Ivo Mesquita’s curatorial theme for Cartographies (Winnipeg: Winnipeg Art Gallery, 1994) , see relevant essays by Brazilian critics as follows: by Annateresa Fabris, “Duas cartografias da América Latina: Joaquín Torres García e Anna Bella Geiger” in América Latina: territorialidades e práticas artísticas (Porto Alegre: Ed. UFRGS, 2002) ; and by Paulo Herkenhoff, the linguistic complement to Mesquita’s curatorial proposal, “Incomplete glossary of sources of Latin American Art,” in Cartographies (1994) .