Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail

In this text, Juan Calzadilla critically reflects on Mateo Manaure’s “pinturas sobremontaje” conceived as a combination of painting and photography. In Calzadilla’s view, these works represent continuity, rather than rupture, within Manaure’s production, which is characterized by a constant search for an inner universe regardless of the different formal or expressive resources used. Insofar as they entail an exploration of inner realities bound to both the true and the unconscious, the “pinturas sobremontaje” confirm Manaure’s surrealist bent.


Critic and draftsman Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931) published this text in the framework of Pinturas sobremontaje, an exhibition of work by Mateo Manaure (b. 1926) held at Sala Mendoza in Caracas in 1965. Manaure’s “pinturas sobremontaje” were the result of combining painting and collage with photography that made use of different forms of montage, enlargement, and reprinting. These works evidenced, in Calzadilla’s view, the tie between Manaure and the surrealist movement, a connection that was established during his years in Paris (1948?52). The exploration of fantastic and ambiguous forms in his painting from those earlier years was expressed one decade later in the methods preferred by the Surrealists (photomontage and the layout procedures of graphic design), and in experimentation with objects and assemblages that Manaure began in 1960. Upon returning to Venezuela in the early fifties, Manaure ventured into the field of graphic design, becoming a major advocate and exponent of that discipline. The “pinturas sobremontaje,” then, constitute a synthesis of Manaure’s work in terms of both themes explored and media used. For that reason, Calzadilla considers these works an extension of his pursuits rather than a rupture within his work. The concerns underlying this production were evident in Manaure’s surrealist phase in Paris and in the exhibition of his “imaginary landscapes” of Caracas, works that express a disturbing inner universe.



[For other texts on Manaure’s work, see in the ICAA digital archive Víctor Guédez’s “La creación estético-visual en Mateo Manaure” (doc. no. 1155531); Roberto Guevara’s texts “Manaure y la inmensa noche” (doc. no. 1156411), “Manaure: columnas en tierras movedizas” (doc. no. 1155515), and “Manaure y las Cuvisiones” (doc. no. 1156459); Perán Erminy’s “Las imágenes poéticas de Manaure” (doc. no. 1156523); Alfredo Boulton’s “Mateo Manaure en el Museo de Bellas Artes” (doc. no. 1157497); Gastón Diehl’s “Mateo Manaure” (doc. no. 1156491);  Teresa Alvarenga’s article “Mi obra de hoy: Mateo Manaure llega a los 50 años” (doc. no. 1156427); Pedro Lhaya’s article “Mateo Manaure o la autenticidad pictórica americana” (doc. no. 1156443); and Alejo Carpentier’s article “Letra y Solfa: arte abstracto” (doc. no. 1097108). For texts by Manaure himself, see “La decisión de un artista” (doc. no. 1156475) and “La escuela de artes plásticas de frente y de perfil” (doc. no. 813569)].

Rigel García
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Reproduced with permission of Juan Calzadilla, Caracas, Venezuela