This introductory text in the catalogue to the exhibition Pintura abstracta de Colombia brings together the arguments and thinking characteristic of art historian Marta Traba in the late fifties. It demonstrates her commitment to defending the work of young Colombian artists making abstract work while advocating the need to transform the viewing public’s appreciation of art. Traba claims that artists should be more varied in their approaches to abstraction. She voices her concern with the viewing public’s role in defining artwork and asserts the need for education in art in order to avoid faulty and contradictory judgments.
The exhibition Pintura abstracta de Colombia (Biblioteca Luís Ángel Arango, Bogotá, June 11-25, 1958) featured twenty-two paintings by Colombian artists Eduardo Ramírez Villamizar, (1923-2004), Marco Ospina (1912-1983), Carlos Rojas (1933–1997), Judith Márquez (1925–1994), Luís Fernando Robles (b. 1932), and Peruvian artist Armando Villegas (b. 1928). In addition to Traba’s text, the catalogue contains brief overviews of the artists’ careers accompanied by an image of a work by each participant. For a number of years, there had been competitions geared exclusively to abstract art, among them the I Exposición de Pintura Abstracta (Biblioteca Nacional, Bogotá, 1955) and the Salón de Arte Abstracto (Galería El Callejón, Bogotá, 1956). These events were organized to bring together and disseminate a form of expression that had been adopted by a number of young Colombian artists.