Las artes plásticas en la América Latina: del trance a lo transitorio [The Visual Arts in Latin America: From Trance to Transitory] is a book that was written by the Brazilian art critic Frederico Morais in the late 1970s. It was originally published in Portuguese as Artes plásticas na América Latina: do transe ao transitório (Rio de Janeiro: Civilização Brasileira, 1979). The first Spanish edition, translated by Julio Calzadilla, was published by Casa de las Américas in Havana, Cuba, in 1990.
During the 1960s and 1970s, according to the art critic Ivonne Pini, “the idea of a common continental identity was the subject of increasing debate; there was widespread interest in defining the terms involved because Latin American nations were far from being a united whole, and plurality was, in fact, their defining characteristic” [Ivonne Pini, Fragmentos de memoria: los artistas latinoamericanos piensan el pasado (Bogotá: Ediciones Uniandes–Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2001), p. 52]. Within that context, and according to Gerardo Mosquera, the Cuban art critic (b. 1945), “by the late 1970s Frederico Morais (in the book referred to above) was already blaming colonialism for our obsession with identity, and suggesting a ‘plural, diverse, multifaceted’ way of seeing the Latin American continent” (see the article “Contra el arte Latinoamericano”, an account of Juan Pablo Pérez’s interview of Gerardo Mosquera, published in Ramona magazine, Buenos Aires, no. 89, (April 2009)].
In the section titled “Colombia: el país redondo o el inconsciente de la Historia”, Morais describes Colombia as a “closed area,” alluding to the theories expressed by Marta Traba (1923–83) in her controversial thesis Dos décadas vulnerables en las artes plásticas latinoamericanas 1950/1970 (Mexico City: Siglo XXI publishers, 1973). Traba identifies a profound difference in Latin America between “open countries” (to European immigration) and “closed countries” (with native roots). Frederico Morais suggests that Colombian art in the 1960s and 1970s was inclined toward Latin American subjects, and particularly in establishing connections with Brazilian Constructivists.