The essay “Arte-idea-geografía” by the curator María Elena Ramos (b. 1947), published in Arte y naturaleza (Caracas: Lagoven, 1987), gives the reader an informative overview of the work of the photographer, artist, and geographer Claudio Perna (1938–97). The essay discusses some of Perna’s ideas—considered essential reading for those who would understand this artist—such as “art as communication” and “the artist as operator of nature.” But most of all he sought to communicate his ideas rather than present them as symbols; his philosophical reflection and ecological perspective were important facets of his general idea of conceptual art. Ramos mentions Perna’s global view that every event, no matter how far away, is connected to everything else on the planet. She lists important work he has done as an artist and as a professor, pushing boundaries set by those who reject foreign-made art. Ramos claims that the geographic setting (near or far) precedes the artistic idea in his all-encompassing view of art creation, but other critics see in Perna a combination of both.
In this essay Ramos addresses a question that has concerned Venezuelan critics ever since Perna appeared in the visual art world. Some critics, such as Lourdes Blanco (see “Claudio Perna: fotocopias” ), are skeptical about this question; that is, whether Perna can be considered an artist or not. Ramos discusses Perna’s work from the perspective of the demythologization of the (unique and original) work of art that Duchamp proposed with his ready-mades, and therefore as a conceptual work of art. Ramos here shows her didactic methodology as she encourages the reader to find the answer.
To read other articles about this artist, see by Margarita D’Amico “1: Hoy es arte lo que no era” ; by Luis Enrique Pérez-Oramas “El autocurrículum de Claudio Perna, escultura social y novela hiperrealista” ; by Roberto Guevara “Claudio Perna o cómo ser libre en la marginalidad” ; by Elsa Flores “(Sin título) [Vivir quiere decir dejar huellas…]” ; by Mara Comerlati “Claudio Perna. Lo fundamental es inventar. Este domingo expondrá más de cincuenta dibujos en la Sala Mendoza” ; by José Napoleón Oropeza “Claudio Perna. Disfruto el estilo de no tener estilo” . See also the following articles by Zuleiva Vivas: “Las opciones del tiempo para el nuevo espíritu” ; “Visión panorámica de las nuevas cartografías” ; “Los nuevos procesos y la representación figurativa” ; “Intervención creativa en el contexto social” ; and “Claudio Perna y el arte del pensamiento” .