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    Papeles Picados : Lola Cueto / Por Jean Charlot
    El Nacional (Caracas, Venezuela). -- May. 6, 1947
    Newspaper article – Essays
    Charlos, Jean. "Papeles Picados: Lola Cueto." El Nacional (Caracas), May 6, 1947.

In a series of philosophical commentaries, Jean Charlot emphasizes what is important and novel in Lola Cueto’s perforated paper works. He points out that one must remove parts of a stone in order create something. He talks about the idea of taking something away from a material in order to obtain better results and how one can create a work of surprising quality without it mattering how humble the material is. Charlot states that for an artist, the truly important thing is privilege of creating something without worrying about the permanence, durability or even appreciation by generations to come of the work. He believes it is important that a work be appreciated, but nevertheless, what should matter to the artist is the act of creation itself, the collaboration with the material and command of it. The French painter connects oriental cultures with those of the pre-Hispanic era not only because of the “papel de china” [Chinese paper] that serves as the material for Lola Cueto’s work, but also because this work also speaks to an understanding that is indifferent to time. That is, both cultures do not differentiate between the ephemeral and the eternal: paper versus rock; in effect, both the ephemeral and the eternal are part of the same thing. Charlot offers two pieces of information on pre-Hispanic culture: he tells how dyed “papel de amate” [ficus bark paper] was made into trim that decorates the temples during the social activities of the pre-Hispanic world, and later, its decorative use persisted with “papel de china picado” [perforated Chinese paper] being used in homes and streets to welcome religious images. In his opinion, Lola Cueto possesses a deep grasp of every medium she uses. Her work is the genuine embodiment of an ancient art transformed into folk art. After her tapestries, through her “papeles picados,” states Charlot, Lola “now offers us something as refreshing as a glass of water that is consumed after exquisite liqueurs.”


Los Papeles Picados de Lola Cueto [The Perforated Papers of Lola Cueto] was written as the prologue to the catalog for Lola Cueto’s (1897–1978) show, “Exposición de Grabados y Papeles Picados de Lola Cueto” [Exhibition of Lola Cueto’s Perforated Papers and Engravings] held at the Instituto Venezolano-Soviético (May 11, 1947) in Caracas, Venezuela. The event was publicized for two weeks prior to the opening. Proof of this can be found in the different newspaper articles and press releases published in El Nacional, between May 1 and June 8, 1947. The text written by the Parisian painter was published in Caracas on May 6, 1947. 

The value of this document stems from the fact that an artist like Jean Charlot (1898–1979), the French painter who participated in the mural movement from inception, was both an artist and great promoter of Mexican art, starting in the first decades of the 20th century. His deep interest in pre-Hispanic culture and the universalization of what it meant to be Mexican can be felt in Charlot’s own words, which he used to compare Mexico to other cultures; he also included specific information on his studies in this country. 

On the other hand, this exhibition of perforated paper and engravings came as a result of classes that Lola Cueto took in Mexico with Alvarado Lang at the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas. The artist, together with Roberto Lago and the “El Nahual” puppet company put on a season of seventy-two shows in Venezuela.

Lizette Zaldivar Larrañaga : CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
© Courtesy of Jean Charlot Estate LLC.

Archivo Mireya Cueto