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In this text, the critic Juan Calzadilla develops his thoughts on the collages created by the Venezuelan painter Mateo Manaure. His analysis considers the start of the integration of photography into the visual arts in the early twentieth century. This was exemplified by the Surrealist movement, which took advantage of the potential of this medium to communicate both the artist’s internal world and content related to the subconscious. Deeming Manaure one of the pioneers of this technique in Venezuela, the critic identifies the factors in Manaure’s art life that have familiarized him with materials and solutions of this kind. Thus, the critic breaks down the contributions that appeared during this period, both in the technical and thematic elements of Manaure’s artwork.


In 1989, the Venezuelan painter Mateo Manaure (b. 1926) presented the individual exhibition Collages at Galería A in Caracas. On that occasion, he returned to his work with photographic montage, introducing variations such as eschewing the use of paint in these works and turning to medium formats. Manaure first adopted this technique two decades earlier with his pinturas sobremontaje, in which he combined painting and manipulation techniques taken from photography. Calzadilla’s text sheds light on the links between the 1960’s work pinturas sobremontaje and the collages created in the 1980s, pointing out both stylistic relationships and the main achievements of each set of work. To the critic, the series pinturas sobremontaje represents the artist’s creative nucleus, essential to an understanding of Manaure’s successive approaches in the field of manipulated images. In fact, the collages of that earlier period open the way to a dimension capable of showing the breadth of themes addressed as well as the expansion of the work as an object in itself. Finally, the text refers to an ongoing observation about Manaure’s work: the presence of the artist’s internal universe in every one of his approaches. This presence strengthens the artist’s sensitivity when faced with a concept of art that ends up requiring artists to make a greater commitment to the world around them. [Regarding Manaure’s work, see the following texts in the ICAA digital archive: by Víctor Guédez “La creación estético-visual en Mateo Manaure” (doc. no. 1155531); by Roberto Guevara, both “Manaure y la inmensa noche” (doc. no. 1156411) and “Manaure: Columnas en tierras movedizas” (doc. no. 1155301) as well as “Manaure y las Cuvisiones” (doc. no. 1156459); by Perán Erminy “Las imágenes poéticas de Manaure” (doc. no. 1156523); by Alfredo Boulton “Mateo Manaure en el Museo de Bellas Artes” (doc. no. 1157497); by Gastón Diehl “Mateo Manaure” (doc. no. 1156491); one article by Teresa Alvarenga “Mi obra de hoy: Mateo Manaure llega a los 50 años” (doc. no. 1156427) and another by Pedro Lhaya “Mateo Manaure o la autenticidad pictórica americana” (doc. no. 1156443); and finally, an article by Alejo Carpentier “Letra y Solfa: Arte abstracto” (doc. no. 1097108). In addition, there are two texts by Manaure himself, “La decisión de un artista” (doc. no. 1156475) and an essay on “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