The writer Luis Oyarzún (1920–1972) published this essay in 1951 in the Revista Pro Arte (which appeared from 1948 to 1956). The publication date is relevant because of the thoughts he expressed, which were a reflection of the time and reveal a colonial attitude. Juan Omar Cofré, PhD (b. 1950), wrote “Aspectos claves del pensamiento estético de Luis Oyarzún” [see the ICAA Digital Archive (775965)], an essay in which he discussed Oyarzún’s ideas. Oyarzún was Cofré’s aesthetics professor at the Universidad Austral de Chile (1971), where he arrived a year before the writer died and therefore had firsthand knowledge of his theories. [On the subject of Oyarzún’s writing, see “La pintura de Carlos Pedraza” (764894) and “La experiencia estética como expresión y creación de formas” (770390).]
Oyarzún worked as a literary and visual arts critic for various publications, mainly the magazine Revista Pro Arte and the newspaper La Nación. His writings were compiled as a book, Taken for a ride. Escritura de paso (2006). The Revista Pro Arte, founded by the artist Sergio Montecino (1916–1997), played an important role in the art field at the time. Another contributor to the magazine was the historian and art critic Víctor Carvacho (1916–1996), who was also influential in art circles from those years through the early 1990s. [See “Esquema de cincuenta años de la Plástica Chilena” (748419), a text written by Carvacho in the early 1950s.]
Oyarzún, who contributed to the development of the autobiography genre in Chile, published his first novel, La infancia [Childhood], when he was twenty years old. This was followed by works of prose poetry, Las murallas del sueño [The Walls of Sleep] (1940), Poemas en prosa [Prose Poems] (1943), and Ver [See] (1952), and the poetry anthologies Mediodía [Midday] (1958) and Alrededor [Around] (1963). In literary circles, he is considered a member of the 1938 Generation (also known as the 1942 Generation), which was known for addressing the sociopolitical conditions of the time. He was a teacher of the so-called 1950 Generation, which rejected the local literary tradition of criollismo. In the mid-1950s he was president of the SECH (Sociedad de Escritores de Chile), the writers’ association that is still active to this day. His posthumous book, Defensa de la tierra [Defense of the Land], was published in 1973, followed by Meditaciones estéticas [Aesthetic Meditations] in 1981, with a prologue by Cofré, who is mentioned above.