Like many of the essays written by Venezuelan curator and critic Luis Enrique Pérez-Oramas (b. 1960), in this text he addresses several issues pertaining to the aesthetics and the history of international and Venezuelan contemporary art. In this case, the critic additionally includes merited literary criticism on the conceptual Autocurrículum event, as the work is presented in form of a book by the Venezuelan artist of Italian origin Claudio Perna (1938−97), and as it is atypical to the contemporary art within the country.
In this essay, Luis Enrique Pérez-Oramas, after a thorough analysis on the subject, person and or narrator of the book, makes the observation that the names of others (artists, friends and authors) are repeated on every page of the book, producing a “kaleidoscopic multiplication of the subject,” even making “the impossibility of saying ‘I’ being replaced by ‘them.’” In the opinion of the critic, this was done by Perna in his quest to create works leading to communal events with collective images. An example of this was his trip to Venezuela’s Estado Falcón with artist Eugenio Espinoza, where they recorded in photographic work the cross-linked fabric that Espinoza would eventually use on his work Impenetrable (1972).
Of special interest, it is noteworthy to mention Pérez-Oramas’ views on both the autobiographical and biographical genre of the work, in addition to the analysis of images illustrating the book under the concept of “parergia” [margins, a background, or an additional field], and as a “curriculum” in relation to the work of art itself, under the same concept, as Jaques Derrida did. That is, as a part of the work that is “outside of the margins of the work.”
On the other hand, Pérez-Oramas’ essay brings to fore the faithful reproduction of the most important pages of Perna’s Autocurrículum. The work is difficult to locate by researchers since its pages have been seldom reproduced and only three copies, as far as it is known, were published by the artist (pasted in a thesis format). Among said pages are those relating to exhibitions: Once Tipos, shown at the Sala Mendoza between 1972 and 1980; the Festival de video at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas in 1975; Lluvia,a social sculpture of an innkeeper/waiter, a work by Perna; and a dialogue with Diego Barboza under the title of Approch Xerox which, in Pérez-Oramas’ opinion, is about a manifesto on how the Autocurrículum is physically constituted: photocopies.
The essay is also important because of a paragraph dedicated to notions related to “the reticular” in the history of modern and contemporary Venezuelan art, and above all the explanation of the significance of Perna’s “infiltration” of a copy of his work in the library of MoMA, an act that was, in itself, both a conceptual art event and a critique on the institutional legitimation of art.