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In this essay, the critic Juan Calzadilla discusses the exploration of Informalist abstract movements by Venezuelan artist Elsa Gramcko, who was in search of new “textures” with which to express her ideas in physical form. Calzadilla describes Gramcko’s views on her “materials” and refers to some of the series she has produced, such as “ventanillas falsas” (1965) and “ojos mágicos,” which were included in her most recent exhibition at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas. During the course of his essay, Calzadilla quotes the German writer and philosopher J. W. Goethe.
In this essay, which was published in the book El ojo que pasa. Crónicas sobre la actividad artística (Caracas: Monte Ávila, 1969), Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931), a staunch promoter of the Informalist movement in Venezuela, discusses the work produced by Elsa Gramcko (1925–94). The essay was written in 1968, during the Venezuelan visual artist’s greatest “Informalist” period, which is why it does not refer to her earlier phase of geometric abstraction. In his essay, Calzadilla discusses the merits of this little-known painter. In later years, though she had never completely committed to Informalism, she became a standard bearer for the movement in Venezuela. In the critic’s opinion, Gramcko finds that she can use Informalist textures to address her own personal expressive needs. One of her merits, as mentioned in this essay, is that she can generate movement in her work, by means of the expressive power instead of by kinetic means. Calzadilla is also struck by Gramcko’s ability to use different elements, managing to “transmute” her materials and imbue them with a totally novel meaning.
[To read other critical essays and interviews with the artist, see in the ICAA digital archive also by Juan Calzadilla “Entrevista con Elsa Gramcko” (doc. no. 1152673); 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); the review by Clara Diament Sujo “Elsa Gramcko” (doc. no. 1153604); the review by Teresa Alvarenga “Elsa Gramcko por ahora el silencio” (doc. no. 1153652); and by Juan Carlos López Quintero “Elsa Gramcko. Una alquimista de nuestro tiempo” (doc. no. 1152657)].