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This article is written in the form of an interview; it consists of a series of questions that the critic Juan Calzadilla asked the Venezuelan visual artist Elsa Gramcko. The questions focus on Gramcko’s artistic development and especially on her relationship with Venezuelan Abstract and Informalist movements and the artists involved in each of them. The critic refers to important landmark events in Gramcko’s career, such as her involvement in geometrical abstraction in the 1950s, the heated debate between Abstraction and Figuration, and her work on projects that sought to incorporate art into architecture. Calzadilla also describes what Gramcko was working on in those days.
This interview appeared in the catalogue for Elsa Gramcko. Una alquimista de nuestro tiempo. Muestra Antológica 1957–1978 (Caracas: Galería de Arte Nacional, 1997), the first major retrospective exhibition of the body of work produced by the Venezuelan visual artist Elsa Gramcko (1925–94). Due to her “incredible shyness,” she responded in writing to the questions asked by the critic Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931). The interview actually took place in 1976, over twenty years before it was finally published. Gramcko retired permanently from the art world in 1979, so this was one of her last interviews as an active artist, making it a very significant document indeed. Calzadilla is considered one of the main promoters of the Venezuelan Informalist movement, so it is of particular interest to note Gramcko’s relationship with the various visual artists and their movements. She describes herself as a “solitary” person, and explains that she never participated in any Informalist group exhibitions because she was never invited. This is a very important document because of its first-hand nature. It also answers several questions about Gramcko over the course of her art career, and in particular about her relationship with the Informalist movement.
[To read other critical essays about and interviews with this artist, see in the ICAA digital archive by Juan Carlos López Quintero “Elsa Gramcko. Una alquimista de nuestro tiempo” (doc. no. 1152657); the essay by José Gómez Sicre “Elsa Gramcko of Venezuela” (doc. no. 1222685); the biographical sketch by Oswaldo Trejo “Elsa Gramcko” (doc. no. 1153620); the article by Roberto Guevara “Abstractos inéditos de Elsa Gramcko” (doc. no. 1163749); another article by Calzadilla entitled “Elsa Gramcko: la atracción de las texturas” (doc. no. 1153589); the critical article by Clara Diament Sujo “Elsa Gramcko” (doc. no. 1153604); and the review by Teresa Alvarenga “Elsa Gramcko por ahora el silencio” (doc. no. 1153652)].