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Radical Conceptual Art revisited: A social and political perspective from the East and the South

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Title: Segmento de recta A - B = 53.000 mts.

Author: Juan Carlos Romero [AT]

Year: 1971

Images and references:

Place where it was made /presented Buenos Aires


In July 1971, at the invitation of Centro de Arte y Comunicación (CAYC), Juan Carlos Romero took part in the exhibition Arte de Sistemas at the Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires. Romero presented a sequence of annotated maps and photographs, mounted on twelve sections of card, together with a short text that provides a series of references for decoding the work. Segment of straight line A-B = 53,000 m proposes the tracing of a virtual straight line that connects the Museo de Arte Moderno in Buenos Aires with the Museo Provincial de Bellas Artes in La Plata. On the general map in the first section of the work, the straight line is segmented in ten equal parts measuring 5,300 metres each. This dimension is also projected onto two roads that join the cities of Buenos Aires and La Plata. At each of the points determined by the projection, Romero took two photographs, one in each direction. Segment of straight line exhibits the successive records of this systematic double operation. The photographic mechanism intervenes in the visual continuum, cutting off and sectioning the distance covered by the eye, which can be reconstructed by the observer in an intellective operation. However, the premise of the work inheres not in the simple reconstruction of an itinerary set by the artist, but in the possibility, explicitly stated in Romero’s text, of the spectator then intervening in that itinerary, sectioning the straight line at any of its intermediate points, and reactivating the distance measured out with new resonances of meaning. It is interesting to note that while on the one hand the proposal inscribes its points of origin and closure in two art museums, on the other it invokes an experience that is situated outside of the art institution, in the itinerary between the two museums. The work superposes on the itinerary carefully documented in the series of maps and photos another itinerary that consists in incorporating the records of the social reality and appropriating their sign, to reinstall them in the context of the art institution (Fernando Davis. “Critical Practices and Strategies of Appropriation in the Work of Juan Carlos Romero.” Traslated by Graham Thompson).

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