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Journalist Mara Comerlati interviews Omar Carreño for his exhibition at the Museo Boggio in Caracas. The show brings together work from the artist’s figurative period, before his stay in Paris (at the end of the 1940s and beginning of the 1950s) and his definitive transition to geometric abstraction. The text describes the project, and the subsequent compilation of these pieces from his “early” period, many of which were in the hands of the Venezuelan painter’s friends and school colleagues. Throughout the conversation, Carreño reflects on the value and meaning of this period, as well as the circumstances that surrounded his travel to study in the French capital. In conclusion, there is a brief summary of his artistic career and his very personal connection to figuration.
In 1980 the Museo Emilio Boggio in Caracas organized an exhibition on the figurative phase of Venezuelan painter and sculptor Omar Carreño (n. 1927). Under the title La etapa figurative de Omar Carreño [The Figurative Stage of Omar Carreño], the event displayed a very private facet of [the artist] who had dedicated himself (from the beginning of the 1950s) to developing abstract-geometric work, as well as to an exploration of the kinetic proposals, and then proposing the formation of the “Expansionist” movement that is exemplified by his obra transformable [transformable work]. With the exception of an informalist period (at the beginning of the 1960s), Carreño’s work maintained a certain contintuity with regard to his relationship with constructivism. In this sense, the show at the Museo Boggio had an unusual focus on the work from his formative period; that is, before his sojourn in Paris and his [later and] definitive transition to abstract art. Mara Comerlati’s interview offers Carreño’s narration on that phase [of his career], the manner in which the works were preserved, and the organizational process of the show. The journalist underscores the valuation that [the artist] makes of his figurative work, as a stage of experimentation and, as a study and synthesis process that would eventually lead him to abstraction. Afterward, about 1985, the artist began another figurative phase that he would exhibit a couple of years later at the Galería Durban (1987), also in Caracas.
[For other texts on the work of this artist, see the ICAA digital archive: the interviews “Omar Carreño: Premio a la constancia, al genio y a la rectitud del proceder creador” [Omar Carreño: Prize for constancy, genius, and integrity of the creative process] by Alfredo Schael (doc. no. 1157337); “Si todos los barcos del mundo” [ If all the ships of the world] by Carlos Silva (doc. no. 1157369); “Omar Carreño: Coherencia de un pensamiento plástico” [Omar Carreño: coherence of an artistic theory] by Susana Benko (doc. no. 1157304); “El expansionismo: Último "ismo" inventado en París por Omar Carreño pintor abstracto” [Expansionism: the last “ism” invented in Paris by Omar Carreño, abstract painter] by Antonio Muiño (doc. no. 1157320); as well as the writings of Carlos Maldonado Bourgoin “Vuelta sobre los pasos” [Retracing steps] (doc. no. 1157385) and by Juan Calzadilla “El nereida: óleos recientes” [The Nereid: recent oil paintings] (doc. no. 1157417)].