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Mario Abreu wrote this introduction for his exhibition Objetos Mágicos, held at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas in 1965. The Venezuelan visual artist maintains that it is through artistic arrangement and contradictions that he continues “to reveal magical events.” As Abreu sees it, objects are animated by the creation of forces that arise from a painting—specifically, his own—which is philosophy and life, all at the same time. He states that in his works he creates his “own shrines,” wherein he transforms traditional Santeria. In conclusion, he seeks to show that he represents “the other”; in other words, “I am the multitude in my own future.”
Mario Abreu (1919–93) wrote this introduction for his exhibition Objetos Mágicos, held at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas in 1965. The Venezuelan visual artist had been creating the pieces he would use in this exhibition—magical objects, also called “santerías” when he began the project—since approximately 1960. That was two years before he returned to Venezuela from Paris, where he had spent the previous decade. The first exhibition of these pieces took place at the Galerie Valerie Schmidt in the French capital, under the title L’Œil de Dieu [The Eye of God] in 1961. It was not until 1965 that these objects were first shown in Venezuela.
This brief introduction represents a kind of “proclamation” of the principles in the spiritual sphere that influenced his work; what emerged were these multicolored, surrealistic pieces that he considered his own magical objects. He weaves the discourse of a “visionary,” a being who feels imbued with a cosmic force that fully inspires him. This perception is expressed in his work, which he believed to be a full “definition of my own physical geography and psychic,” a “powerful, living philosophy.” Thus, to the artist, the magical object, a kind of shrine with clear references to the magical/religious rituals and practices of Santeria, arises from an assemblage of daily objects. These are related and arranged in such a way that they take on a ritual and religious ambiance. Certainly, these objects had strong roots in popular culture and bore no relationship to aesthetically determined models or “aesteticitis,” which Abreu deemed the affliction of those who develop such models.
This text was reproduced in the catalogue for an exhibition of the same pieces held at the Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá in 1966. [For another analysis of this artist, see the article by Roberto Guevara “La magia de los objetos en Mario Abreu,” available in the ICAA digital archive (doc. no. 1155134)].