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The artist Luis Mazzey, a member of the Club de Grabado de Montevideo, where he was also an instructor, was interviewed a few days after his 86th birthday. He provides an overview of his career and his ideas concerning the artistic nature of printmaking, and discusses subjects such as the creative reservoir to be found in memory, the role of traditional techniques, and the dual—universal and local—nature of art. This account of Mazzey’s conversation is a true artistic manifesto. The interview begins with a discussion about the differences between the CGM’s new publications printed in offset (inferior to the old woodcut printing technique) and Mazzey’s approach, which dismisses the current illustrations that, in his opinion, lack character and any trace of manual contact and even moral content. Mazzey flatly states that, given the essential reproductive nature of prints, they should retain “visible traces” of the printing process involved. In the old artist’s opinion, that visible, human trace can only be expressed and controlled in handcrafted works.    


Luis Mazzey (1895–1983) studied at the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Uruguay and acknowledges Pedro Figari (1861–1938) as his most influential teacher. He inherited from Figari his interest in the local environment and the unique role of memory in the creative process. Mazzey had a very long teaching career, and was the lead printmaking instructor at the CGM (Club de Grabado de Montevideo), an institution he helped to found in 1953. He explains that “Leonilda González asked me to give some printmaking classes and then we began talking about starting a Club,” from which he retired in 1975. He was honored with many prizes for painting and prints. He was a social activist and a lifelong member of anti-government associations (including the AIAPE), and regularly participated in artistic activities with political undertones, such as the Primer Salón Independiente de Artes Plásticas (1937) [on that subject, see in the ICAA digital archive “1er Salón Independiente de Artes Plásticas [agosto 1937]” (doc. no. 1186701)], and the Salón de Bellas Artes de Ayuda a los Niños de España Republicana (1938) [see the homonymous article (doc. no. 1186907)], among other events.


[As complementary reading, see in the archive the following articles published by the Club de Grabado de Montevideo: “Concurso de grabado para edición” (doc. no. 863481); “13 años de actividad de Club de Grabado de Montevideo” (doc. no. 1183571); “El arte correo en el Uruguay” (doc. no. 1191850); “Boletín N° 7 Club de Grabado de Montevideo” (doc. no. 1182833); “Club de Grabado compra su casa” (doc. no. 1192649); “Club de Grabado de Montevideo 22 Aniversario 1953 - Agosto 1975” (doc. no. 1183514); “Club de Grabado de Montevideo a la población de Montevideo” (doc. no. 1183124); “Cuando el Tercer Mundo se mira a sí mismo. II Bienal de La Habana” (doc. no. 1184459); “De los grabados de ayer a las ediciones actuales” (doc. no. 1191787); “Definiciones / Uno” (doc. no. 1189065); “Entrevista a Óscar Ferrando” (doc. no. 1186747); “Entrevista a Óscar Ferrando [segunda parte]” (doc. no. 1186802); “Fundamentos a propósito de su 22 aniversario” (doc. no. 1182640); “Mini Grabado Internacional de Cadaqués. España” (doc. no. 1191135); “La necesidad de la imaginación” (doc. no. 1190793); “Nuestra institución” (doc. no. 1182010); “Los nuevos movimientos de las artes” (doc. no. 1182868); “Opiniones (I)” (doc. no. 1185411); “Palabras de clausura para un año de apertura” (doc. no. 1191167); “Referencias sobre identidad, cultura y arte en Latinoamérica” (doc. no. 1183641); “Reflexiones en torno a la supuesta crisis de las artes plásticas” (doc. no. 1185539); and “Sobre el papel de la crítica” (doc. no. 1187071)]. 

María Eugenia Grau, Gabriel Peluffo
Courtesy of Oscar Ferrando acting as ex-secretary general.
Archivo Museo Juan Manuel Blanes