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Researcher Anita Tapias authors the curatorial essay “El metabolismo simbólico de Mario Abreu,” which appears in the catalogue for Mario Abreu. Venezuela. 24th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil, 1998. Tapias briefly presents the key aesthetic characteristics present in the artistic production of the artist, especially emphasizing the period of his object-oriented art, which began with the series Santerías or Objetos mágicos. Regarding these, she makes note of an identification with popular practices and folklore; the presence of elements of a personal cosmogony; a syncretistic sense that invokes ancestral rituals of a magical character; humor and irony; references to consumer society; and the problems generated by modern large cities, among many others.
Anita Tapias’ essay was written during Mario Abreu’s (1919?93) posthumous participation in the twenty-fourth São Paulo Biennial (his second time included in the event), which was one of his most important with regard to international exposure of his work. With respect to the supposed late recognition and vindication of the artist’s work, Tapias’ comments prove inaccurate given Abreu’s participation in numerous individual and collective exhibitions, which had been continuous since 1951, including in key national and international institutions. This is confirmed by the great quantity of prestigious awards the artist received throughout his career. Tapias does not analyze the cannibalistic attitude that pervades the style of his intuitive language, and his personal views, which were far removed from the styles of the day, and the fact that he was one of the premier object-oriented artists in the country who exercised a great degree of influence on future generations.