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This is a summary of the ideas that Karel Appel mentioned during the conversation facilitated by the INC (Instituto Nacional de Cultura) in Lima on February 19, 1976, about the group mural project that the well-known Dutch artist was working on in Villa El Salvador, the largest
shantytown in the capital city of Peru. His remarks were transcribed and translated into Spanish by Silvio Mutal, the UNESCO representative in Peru. Appel explains his own personal interest in the project, which was inspired by the community system of self-governance. He replies to questions about how the Second World War influenced his work, and the philosophical underpinnings of COBRA [COpenhagen/BRussels/Amsterdam, 1948–51], whose original Marxist tilt changed when the founding members of the group resigned.
This article focuses on the questions put to Karel Appel (1921–2006) by a panel that included the painter Leslie Lee (1932–2014), a member of the INC Comisión Técnica de Arte; the poet Francisco Bendezú (1928–2004); the designer José Bracamonte Vera (1928–83), who was the recipient of the Premio Nacional de Cultura en Comunicación Social 1975; and the artist Gastón Garreaud (1934–2005), the founder of the new SUTAP (Sindicato Único de Trabajadores en Artes Plásticas). Also on the panel were two representatives from Villa El Salvador: Federico Krohmer and Nelly Silva Gutiérrez. The title of the article includes the Roman numeral “I” in parenthesis, but the second part of Appel’s remarks was never published.
[Regarding the Premio Nacional de Cultura, see the following articles in the ICAA digital archive: by Alfonso Castrillón, Leslie Lee, and Carlos Bernasconi “Fundamentación para el dictamen por mayoría simple a favor del artista popular Joaquín López Antay” (doc. no. 1135896); by Alfonso Bermúdez “Premio a López Antay suscita controversias. Unos: consagración del arte popular. Otros: una cosa es arte y otra artesanía” (doc. no. 1135879); by Francisco Abril de Vivero, Luis Cossío Marino, and Alberto Dávila “Artistas plásticos cuestionan premio” (doc. no. 1135960); and (unattributed) “‘No todos nos quieren ni en Lima ni en Ayacucho’: así comentó sobre cuestionamiento a premio” (doc. no. 1135930)].
[As complementary reading on Karel Appel, see the following documents in the archive: (unattributed) “El retablo es ‘Folclor Dadá’ y es arte, opinó plástico holandés Karel Appel: ‘lo que vio en la Escuela de Artes Plásticas no era arte’ dijo” (doc. no. 865535); by Appel “Villa El Salvador: Kerouaciana” (doc. no. 1052138); (unattributed) “Pobladores de Villa El Salvador pintarán murales en la calle dirigidos por el artista Appel” (doc. no. 865645); (unattributed) “El pueblo muralista” (doc. no. 865664); and by Fietta Jarque “¿Mural que muere?: en Villa El Salvador” (doc. no. 865683)].