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Juan Calzadilla provides an overview of abstract sculpture in Venezuela in the mid-20th century, placing emphasis on a group of promising young artists, chief among them Pedro Briceño. He discusses in particular Briceño’s most recent sculptural work, where he confronts the challenge of working with iron for the first time. Calzadilla points out Briceño’s ongoing use of a progressive style and the way the work forms part of the surrounding space. Briceño, Calzadilla explains, proceeds according to the constructivist canons central to his education. Regardless, Calzadilla hopes that the artist will soon rid himself of the burden of that instruction.
One of the first texts ever written in Venezuela on sculptor Pedro Briceño (b. 1931), this essay by art critic Juan Calzadilla (b. 1931) was published in conjunction with his second solo show, and first museum exhibition, which took place after the show with the Taller Libre de Arte (TLA) in 1954. The professional relationship between Briceño and Calzadilla began at the art section of El Nacional newspaper soon before the publication of this catalogue text. In Calzadilla’s view, Briceño—like Víctor Valera before him—is perfectly suited to getting Venezuelan sculpture out of the crisis that, in his view, it has been in for decades (the fifties and sixties specifically). The critic considers this new stage of Briceño’s production, one based on work in iron as opposed to wood, a “rupture” and new beginning in his art; he is, Calzadilla believes, no longer held back by volume or by Neo-Plasticism. This text expresses a new openness as Calzadilla conveys his great enthusiasm about the years to come.