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    Manrique, Gustavo
    Yo Mario Abreu digo que sólo lo americano nos salvará / Gustavo Manrique
    La Esfera (Caracas, Venezuela). -- Ene. 15, 1995
    Journal article – Interviews
    Manrique, Gustavo. "Yo Mario Abreu digo que sólo lo americano nos salvará." La Esfera (Caracas, Venezuela), January 15, 1995.

Journalist Gustavo Manrique interviews Mario Abreu for this exhibition Objetos Mágicos [Magic Objects] (Caracas: Museo de Bellas Artes, 1965). The Venezuelan artist defines himself as an American painter who has used elements of Santeria in his magical objects. In his opinion, his objects seek to encapsulate time: America’s past and present, whose culture has been interrupted. He concludes by saying that he believes in America and that he paints “con la tierra y con el cielo de este continente [with the earth and the sky of this continent.]


Gustavo Manrique interviewed the Venezuelan artist Mario Abreu (1919–1993) for Abreu’s first exhibition featuring his series “objetos mágicos” [Magical Objects] at the Museo de Bellas Artes de Caracas in 1965. The journalist’s interview, although brief, offers proof of the folk roots of Abreu’s work, with regard to the spiritual as well as the aesthetic and emotional, especially in reference to his objetos mágicos, the title of the show in question, a group of the artist’s work that is most celebrated by critics. The language that distinguishes him—replete with metaphors and moments of incoherence—Abreu affirms his commitment to an art that expresses his own origins: Santeria, witchcraft, and magic, all of which (according to other testimony by the [artist]) are linked to his infancy. He also states that his origins connect him to the rest of the American continent: “Descendemos, amigo periodista, de un gran brujo llamado América.” [We descend, my journalist friend, from a great witch called America.] The artist’s description of his objetos mágicos expresses their unifying quality, in terms of form and spirituality.


For a review of the artist by Manuel Trujillo, see the ICAA digital archive: “Abreu, pintor desorientado” [Abreu, A Disoriented Painter] (doc. no. 850789); also see the interview by Miyó Vestrini, “No busco lo mágico como abstracción sino como razón existencial del hombre”, [I Do Not Seek the Magical as an Abstraction but Instead as the Existential Reason for Man] (doc. no. 1172444)].

Josefina Manrique
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Gustavo Manrique, 1995
CINAP. Centro de Informacion Nacional de Artes Plásticas. Galería de Arte Nacional, Plaza Los Museos, Los Caobos, Caracas.