The text “Geometría espiritual” by the curator and art critic Eduardo Serrano (b. 1939) introduced the most important exhibition of the Abstract painter Manolo Vellojín (1943–2013), encompassing two full decades of his work. (Vellojín’s work was shown in individual and group exhibitions starting in 1969.) The writer suggests three elements that characterize the artist’s work, which he classifies as “spiritual geometry,” a term he adapts in an effort to define this Abstract/Geometric trend with considerable use of symbolic and religious themes. This text is essential to an understanding of the artist because it attempts to interpret the painting and processes important to Vellojín up to the date of the exhibition. In 1990, the curator and art critic Carolina Ponce de León (b. 1957) proposed another term, calling this painting “ritual geometry.” Her rendition places an emphasis on the performance of “rituals,” asceticism and the symbolization that identify the artist’s creative process. In short, in the various texts compiled for the catalogue, the writers assessed the meticulous and obsessive perfectionism seen in Vellojín’s rectilinear compositions.
In this exhibition, consisting of more than 130 works, the paintings are rendered in a variety of formats, from irregular (Homenaje a Mercedes Vellojín, 1970) to some with formats that are strictly square. Included are works considered milestones in his life as an artist: Las vacaciones (1974), Esquelas (1977), Dolorosos (1978), and Beatos (1985?86), paintings rendered with acrylic, although sometimes he used rough canvases, as we can see in Cruzada (1980). Subsequently, the exhibition was shown at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín (July–August 1987).
Eduardo Serrano served as a chief curator at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Bogotá from 1974 to 1994. In 1969, back in Colombia after completing his studies of Anthropology and Art History at New York University (NYU), Serrano took over as director of the Galería Belarca (opened in 1969). He also published a great number of articles in catalogues and daily newspapers with national circulation. There is no question about the crucial role Serrano played at the museum; the results were some historic exhibitions of drawings, prints and work by regional artists.