Text: Karina Lopez
Published in: TORRECASA
Year 5, Issue XXII - March / April 2005
"In both Venezuela and Latin America it I necessary to make art without complexes: There is always the myth that everything comes from a school and that everything was done by others, and thus it is forbidden to dare. We cannot prejudge art in our head, we need our own experiences”
Manuel Quintana Castillo
More than art history the most important thing is its destination (...) We are in a world that has lost the magic of the forms, and the mission of art is to recover them " This way begins the conversation artist Manuel Quintana Castillo, in a meeting that takes place quietly in the Medicci Gallery, his exclusive representative. To begin with, the master reveals us both his deep sensitivity as well as his simplicity, raison d’etre for all his work and that consolidates in another thought. “This is not about taking life to the supernatural; it is about bringing the supernatural into life ". Without a doubt we are in front of an intellectual, versatile, controversial and updated spirit...
For the 1973National Art Award recipient, freedom is the cornerstone of creative activity, it is the only way to do undo and, in a nutshell, to live.
He claims that in Venezuela and throughout Latin America there is the myth that everything comes from a school and that everything was done by others, and thus it is forbidden to us. Why? Who tells me I cannot reinvent? Investigating and shaking off those prejudices, shall be the only thing that will allows us to have our own experiences. "
And he adds: " Europeans already have their culture done: The real magic is here in America ... If we do something unprecedented, excellent, and if we reinvent something, it is also perfect. We have a whole world ahead of us, and therefore, it is necessary to seriously address art.
Although as he says "All plastic is visual, but not everything visual is plastic," for which it opposes generic term Visual Arts to designate the discipline to create and to excuse mediocre work.
His association with culture has been through painting, perfect stimulus to assume different forms of artistic activity: The path of Quintana Castillo covers equally expressions as well as communication, music or literature (which actually integrates into his work).
He is professor-founder of the Pedagogical Institute of Caracas and he has served most of his life in the field of teaching in different places, including the School of Applied Arts Cristobal Rojas. For a couple of years he led the radio program "Painting Notebooks" at Radio Nacional, from which later the National Art Gallery compiles and makes a book of the same name, and currently Quintana Castillo works in what will be the second notebook with all the things he has written since 1982 to the present.
His pictorial work, usually expressed or manifested in acrylics on a large format canvas, he is characterized by a constant inquiry. In fact it is a reflection of his soul: multiple styles merge into a continuous search that incorporates verb and sensitivity to the plastic event, to create a distinctive vision in which everything has a place and, that from two basic premises-freedom to create and awareness of the responsibility that it generates-, the author calls it " Topological Painting."
In a kind of semiology of art, the master ensures that the Topological Painting "takes up again the pictorial activity as an act that develops on the flat surface (the one of a painting) and, from there, he records a successive construction and deconstruction of space. This is when the artist establishes different planes and different perspectives that are enriched with multiple geometrical shapes in a plot built from the inside out in the physical space of the painting"
The directed line is the epicenter of the topological painting: A free line is released from the brush, at an approximated distance of 10 cm from the canvas- with fast and precise movements that express, more than academic precepts, the sense of the soul ... After all we are talking to an artist who confesses without hesitation that wants to be free within his own rigor. And he accomplishes it.
His Bet: Painting
With the immense merit of having achieved everything in life by his own efforts and the support of a vast career, some archetypal paintings and a large number of awards, Quintana Castillo makes a retrospective of his activity: "For me painting is a subjectivity that goes into reality through a pictorial dimension.
It springs out in me as a natural necessity, not as an imposition, and in fact the activity itself makes me rationalize it: plastic writing is the vocabulary. "Which is the ultimate goal? Rescuing spirituality.
"You cannot prohibit art its links with the spirit, because the spirit is God's intervention in the world and we cannot close our minds to that. By renouncing to the spirit we have arrived to a world where magic of forms has been banished. In today's world talking about aesthetics is like connecting something of the nineteenth century, "says the artist.