Más allá del documento is one of five exhibitions from Versiones del Sur dedicated to Latin American art and held simultaneously at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Sabatini building, the Palacio de Velázquez and Palacio de Cristal between late 2000 and early 2001. With various curators, the five exhibitions look at the particularities, connections and fragmentation of Latin American art since its beginnings until its most recent artistic creations from different points of view.
Más allá del document focuses on photography as a technique to analyse social, historical, cultural and political content in Latin American countries, while stressing the discursive structures of the discipline and its production and circulation processes. The curators Mónica Amor and Octavio Zaya deny the existence of a Latin American photography. They observe that photography associated with Latin America has a documenting intent and that the "realism" of the documentary is not neutral but is concerned with portraying easily recognisable identity symbols. This exhibition is a step beyond those manifestations; showing works that problematise realistic pretentions made by documentary photography.
Among the hundred photographs by the seventeen selected artists are some like the series Fotoinformes (1976) by Claudio Perna, where the artist records his travel on the highway from the city to his beach house, he mixes pictures of places with different images of his photocopied hand as proof of the author’s mark. The series Imágenes reales (1995) by the Chilean Alfredo Jaar, exhibits closed boxes that store photos from the Rwandan genocide, he displays only a written description of its contents. The work of Cuban Carlos Garaicoa also stands out, an urban and imaginary reconstruction of parts of Havana which is accompanied by an installation, where geometric shapes -metaphors of the buildings- are represented by lamps with their own light. Another work in the exhibition is the series by Fina Gomez, Raíces y piedras (1950-52), which provides a monumental character to those isolated objects, amidst a natural environment. Gabriel Orozco deals with intervention in the natural environment, his snapshots record random events that reveal the irrationality behind the everyday.
The human figure appears in Paula Trope and Miguel Rio Branco’s work; they carry out an anthropological study through bright colours and blurry images, where indifference does not belong. The series Pasillos by Julio Grinblatt is made from tiny images of movements inside buildings which the visitor has to approach closely to be able to contemplate. The opposite happens in the installation by Bibi Calderaro, where a shadowy figure like a spot of light, swings and blurs to avoid being seen.
Renowned Mexican Manuel Álvarez Bravo, the Brazilian Rochelle Costi, the Chilean Eugenio Dittborn, Argentinian Raúl Flores, Californian Anthony Hernández, Argentinian Óscar Pintor, Mexican Maruch Santiz Gómez and Brazilian Marc Ferrez -the only artist in the exhibition from the nineteenth century- complete the collection, an exhaustive compendium of how to deal with the constraints of documentary photography and an exhibition on the enormous power of Latin American photographers.