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In this essay about the selection of illustrations to accompany text, the Venezuelan curator Corina Michelena reflects on the blankness of the sheet of paper. In the case of an illustration, she suggests, that blankness actually represents the essential quality of a print; that is, the quality of being an “impression.” The reproductive nature of the image, says Michelena, helps to extend the range of the impact of the artist’s imagination, which she metaphorically compares to the ringing of a bell.    


In this essay, the Venezuelan curator Corina Michelena expresses a point of view concerning the essential nature of a print, based on a selection of works from the collection at the MBA (Museo de Bellas Artes) in Caracas. Michelena waxes poetic in her curatorial meditation, seeing the blankness of a sheet of paper, from the perspective of the illustration, as an essential part of the process. She explains how the reproductive nature of an image—which she compares to the ringing of a bell, the beating of a heart, or the pulse of life—is the result of a constant interplay between “impression” and “expression.” Michelena gradually develops this idea based on the works in the exhibition. Her essay is also interesting for the way in which she makes connections between different works, comparing a print by the Venezuelan artist Luisa Palacios (1923–90) to a classic work by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, for example; or comparing a lithograph by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec to an intaglio by the Venezuelan artist Gladys Meneses (1938?2014). These connections are valid when the discourse involved is rooted in reality, and is based on a consistent sample, such as the Venezuelan collection of prints at the MBA.        

Milagros González
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Courtesy of Corina Elena Michelena Poggioli, Caracas, Venezuela