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Monday, 17 Feb 2020

MARIO ABREU, Venezuela

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100rf0The “master of magic objects” is one of the salient Venezuelan artists, although his name is not amply renowned  because he almost never would expose himself to the market swing and took scarcely part in galleries or biennials. However, his artwork was officially acknowledged saying that his paintings conveyed an intense critical capacity and triggered the society’s vibrant response.

The painting of the Venezuelan Mario Abreu puts the accent on the treatment of rich and explosive colors; his figures seem to creep in from some strange religious and popular dream, while his landscapes are treated with a fairytale-like eye.  All this is inconsistent with the latent strong social critic of all his other artworks, and made him widely popular among his contemporaries due to his constant transgression of academic canons and his radical stance against his surroundings.100rf1

Mario Abreu was born in 1919 in Turmero, state of Aragua (Venezuela). His parents were Georgina Abreu and Ramón Perez Guerrero.  Due to their economic problems he lived part of his childhood with his godmother, Amelia Borges, who was ver y  attached to magia and the worship of the popular saints.  When he was onland nine years old the artist began working as a salesclerk for a foodstore and, according to what he said later on when he already   was a renowned painter, ''I loved to organize the shelves with tins of sardines, sweets, and soft drinks. Every   afternoon, I to put these shelves in order, I could’nt stand to see them empty. I think that these were the first magic objects I perceived”.

In mid-1940, he went to live in Caracas, where he made his living as a worker and went to night school to finish his basic schooling. He started painting classes at the Plastic and Applied Arts School of Caracas, under the direction of Antonio Monsantos. In 1942, he won a painting contest and a scholarship that made it possible for him to give up  his job and finish secondary   school. His generation featured prominent names: Alejandro Otero, Mateo Manaure, Carlos Cruz Diez , Luis Guevara Moreno and others were his classmates.

He went to Europe in the 50’s taking up residence in Paris where he got acquainted with such other artists as Duchamp, and  recognized that  no creative activity   could could be subject to any   parameter whatsoever, and put it into practice throughout his creative life.

Keeping at arm’s length from prizes and biennials, the “master of magic objects” as he was called, won in 1975 the National Prize of Plastic Arts. He died aged 74 years in 1993.

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