The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
This text by writer and critic José Balza is the introduction to Las Puertas del reino, an exhibition of work by Venezuelan artist Mario Abreu. In it, Balza asserts that there is more to Abreu than his public image as a medium of the occult. His production instead entails an exploration of the folklore and criollo mythology entrenched in Venezuelan culture and which is key to its perseverance. Balza points out the theatrical and, in a sense, sacred quality of Abreu’s work, as well as its “earthly instinct,” which is bound to the painting tradition and to the invention of objects. Balza praises the power of Abreu’s compositions, his ability to awaken emotions, and the ease with which he turns his work into an object that has already been touched or imagined. In closing, Balza analyzes the works featured in the show, especially those that make delicate use of pastel.
This text by essayist and art critic José Balza (b. 1939) was written as the introduction to the exhibition of work by Venezuelan artist Mario Abreu (1919–1993), entitled Las Puertas del reino, held at Galería G in Caracas in 1985. A critical overview of Abreu’s work, the text attempts to modify the public image of the artist and argues for the transcendence of his work. Balza claims that the production of this “magician dedicated to visual expression”—as Abreu was commonly perceived by critics—reveals a mestiza and hybrid criolla culture that is essential to Venezuela. Balza briefly summarizes important critical contributions to the understanding of his work, looking to Marta Traba, Juan Liscano Juan Calzadilla, Juan Sánchez Peláez, and others to support his arguments. Balza believes Abreu is a wise man of art, and his wisdom is expressed in his paintings (particularly in their compositions) and in the objects he creates with the mastery of volume. Furthermore, Abreu works at the subtle boundaries between those genres, boundaries that he undermines and crosses.