Writing under the pseudonym “Juan Eye,” the writer Sebastián Salazar Bondy responds to the article by Luis Miró Quesada Garland (El Comercio, Lima, May 25, 1954) in which the latter portrays architects as the great champions of abstract art.
The Peruvian debate on the subject of Abstract art began when the painter Fernando de Szyszlo (b. 1925) returned from Paris in 1951 and stated that “there are no painters in Peru” [see the following article in the ICAA digital archive: “Dice Fernando Szyszlo que no hay pintores en el Perú ni América: el joven pintor peruano declara sentir su pintura y la de los demás pero no puede explicarla” [Fernando Szyszlo says there are no painters in Peru or in Latin America: the young Peruvian painter claims to be able to feel his own painting and the work painted by other artists, but cannot explain it] (anonymous) (1137793)]. The debate became even more intense in 1954 and 1955 as a result of the opinions expressed by the architect Luis Miró Quesada Garland (1914–94) and the writer Sebastián Salazar Bondy (1924–65), the main ideological champions of abstraction and realism, respectively. The first altercation between these two was sparked by the controversial exhibition of works by contemporary Italian painters at the Galería de Lima in May 1954. The non-figurative language of these paintings was, at the time, entirely new, especially the experimental use of “poor” materials in works by Alberto Burri (1915–95). The exhibition prompted negative reviews from Antonio Flórez Estrada (1898–1954) [see his article “De Arte: la muestra de óleos de pintores italianos contemporáneos en la Galería de Lima” (858745)] and from Salazar Bondy [“Artes plásticas: pintores italianos contemporáneos” (857210)], both of whom saw no transcendent qualities at all in abstract art. Luis Miró Quesada Garland [“Opinión sobre las críticas al arte abstracto” (858807)] had a very different point of view, which led to a heated exchange with Bondy, who fought tooth and nail to defend the artist’s social commitment in his work of art. [See the following articles, all with the same title, “Artes plásticas: sobre arte abstracto” (858965), (859038), and (859095) by Bondy. See also the articles by Garland: “Sobre el arte abstracto” (858994) and (doc. no.859071)].