This document is important for an understanding of times that have now been put aside through more discussions about nontraditional expression in Colombian art (forms in some way opposed to painting, sculpture, and printmaking). It also contributes to the understanding of the important work carried out in this regard by the Argentina critic based in Colombia, Marta Traba (1923–83). Her focus was on explaining such art and providing theoretical underpinnings for it, whether in art publications or in messages for artists working in such nontraditional forms of expression.
Bernardo Salcedo (1939–2007) was undoubtedly one of the most representative figures in that process. Starting with his first appearances in public in 1964, this artist was met by surprise and rejection, due to his expressive creations and their various forms. The reason may have been his use of media not used until then in Colombia or his opposition to consecrated forms, a stance he cited to defend his approaches. Or, perhaps it was the critical lucidity with which he explained his own approach when he analyzed the proposals of other artists. Salcedo provided explanations in the same way he dealt with the historical and political circumstances in which he did his own artwork, in its specific milieu.
In fact, at this event as at earlier ones in which Salcedo participated, similar to the XVII Salón Nacional de Artistas (1965) to which the short article refers, the jury’s decision set off a confrontation with the visual art community. This time, the dispute almost ended up in court, since the work awarded the painting prize was not a painting, but a huge piece that could also not be identified as a sculpture. To make matters worse, the work could not actually be placed in any category at all. Salcedo’s prize-winning work could be understood in the broadest sense of pictorial space and time; however, that concept could not be handled at the time, even under the terms of specialized criticism. The naiveté with which the short article explains the work that represented Salcedo at the Dante Alighieri prize is important in itself, for evaluating what that change meant. All the implications of the broadening controversy referred to here can also be studied in the document “Con salvedad de un jurado, Salcedo ganó el primer premio…” .