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


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    Ha entrado un nuevo huesped a la casa del hombre / Carlos Villalba
    Caracas, Venezuela : Sala de Exposiciones Fundación Eugenio Mendoza, 1973
    Book/Pamphlet – Essays
Editorial Categories [?]

In his essay on the Venezuelan sculptor Harry Abend’s architectural reliefs series, the critic Carlos Villalba offers a lyrical interpretation of stone as an artistic element. Villalba praises its virtues and its material function as the qualities that determine its shape and color. The critic mentions the work of the Venezuelan architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva and compares it to Abend’s since both were able to imbue stone with new decorative qualities that surpassed its utilitarian function. The sculptor’s treatment of stone, moreover, highlights the use of colors such as black, gray, and white as well as the display of dark and light shades. Villalba ends by noting the collaboration of Luciano Da Costa in accomplishing the work.


The Venezuelan critic and journalist Carlos Villalba composed one of the few texts focused on the work of the Venezuelan sculptor of Polish origin Harry Abend (b. 1937) and his artistic integration of sculpture and architecture. Despite being largely dedicated to the elaboration of three-dimensional works, Abend (who was an architect by profession) was always interested in the integration of architecture and the use of relief in sculpture. The author does not fail to highlight the work of the architect Carlos Raúl Villanueva as the driving force promoting the synthesis of the arts (the integration of architecture with painting and sculpture) in Venezuela.  Villalba compares the work undertaken by both and finds parallels. Villanueva gives the stone a new value when applying it to his architectural works, while Abend does the same thing albeit applied to sculpture. In addition, as Villalba notes, Abend was persistent in linking his parallel crafts of sculptor and architect despite the fact that—baring the exception of the reliefs he made for the Teresa Carreño Theater—his sculptural creations always took the spotlight away from his experimentation with the synthesis of the visual arts and architecture. This text serves to rescue the sometimes forgotten aspect of Abend’s production. Moreover, in most of the texts written about him, his sculptural work has often been characterized by the predominance of wood. However, this essay analyzes the unusual use of stone as the element for his creations.

Juan Carlos Azpúrua
Fundación Mercantil, Caracas, Venezuela
Carlos Villalba, 1973
Biblioteca Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Caracas