Diego Barboza’s works are written into Venezuela’s history of art as precursors of conceptualism and performance. However, his oeuvre transcends these categories to situate itself in a field of great expressive freedom.
On his way Barboza broke away from formal restrictions, often abandoning his own aesthetic proposals. He is a playful creator, an untiring experimenter, a searcher who is nourished by the contemporary but also linked to an origin and locality. His body of work contains various stages which traces their footsteps back to a childhood during which his sensitivity and memory were fostered. The first stage was spent in Caracas where he came into contact with a new and challenging environment; another significant stage occurred while he lived in London, when the artist experimented with action art, which would become a fruitful influence for his important performances and street events there. Finally, Barboza returned to Caracas at the start of the seventies, then as a well-rounded artist who created and carried out interesting conceptual art projects. His return coincided with a renewed interest in a more pictorial aesthetics which led critics to be faced with a formal project linked to what we might term a “classic” subject matter that included the grand themes of universal p ainting, whose heterogeneity and affinity with the Baroque proved a surprise.
The Galería de Arte Nacional recognises the need to continue researching and promoting creators who have become landmarks in our recent artistic history. We therefore consider strategic alliances with institutions like, in this case, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Maracay Mario Abreu, and with Katherine Chacón’s valuable research and curatorship, to be of vital importance. For each of these reasons, there is no doubt that this exhibition is a fitting form of recognition for this artist who was honoured with the Premio de Artes Plásticas in 1997.