“Art is the activity that exalts and denies simultaneously. [...] Artistic creation is a demand for unity and a rejection of the world. But it rejects the world on account of what it lacks and in the name of what it sometimes is.”
The Rebel, 1951
On December 10, 1948, in Paris, the United Nations signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document establishes the fundamental rights without which a human being cannot be regarded as such. It does so, in response to the disavowal and disregard of rights that had produced, until then, acts offensive to the human conscience. Everything was supposed to change. Artists like Jose Ortega should have devoted their lives to painting only colorful baskets of fruit, and cartoonists should have drawn only garish jumpsuits for the superheroes of an imaginative universe in which hopes are always attainable. Yet the only jumpsuits in this exhibition are those of Guantanámo Bay inmates, the colors are those of a flag knotted like a noose, and the hopes are in the shape of a torn-down wall. So much has changed in 75 years. So many rights have been won and it is important to know them in order not to lose them and to obtain more. But despite this, the world continues to offend itself.
Today we are witnessing yet another wars and the constant violation of basic human rights. In times like these, the moral question arises again before us, which, as Edwy Plenel has pointed out, is not a matter of beautiful souls and beautiful ideas. The moral question is a practical and political reference, and recognizing disparities in respect for human rights is a morally political act. The works that the eighteen cartoonists have produced are an effective denunciation of the many violations of human rights; they represent a moral and political act. In this sense, one can speak here of an example of a morally conscious comic strip. An example that wants to follow the path traced by the great Argentine master Alberto Breccia to whom, thirty years after his death, we want to dedicate this exhibition.