Critical Reviews

He is one of those artists formed during one of the best moments in the history of the School of Plastic Arts in Caracas – the time around 1947. His dramatic imagination, which stems from his Hebraic origin, found in the expressionism of his formative years fertile ground for a labor that has evolved coherently and renews itself still in a never-ending activity of formal analysis but without abandoning an involvement in the human subject. This inventiveness which needs to create and recreate its own objects, directing itself to thematic and serial projects, is accompanied in Sznajderman by a capacity for experimentation that knows how to set its limits according to the possibilities of his energetic expression.

Juan Calzadilla, Venezuelan Art Critic and Historian
Caracas, 1977

The rich vocabulary of themes visible in Marius Sznajderman’s work represents the sum of an equally rich accumulation of personal experience which he absorbed in the course of his years of living in France, Venezuela and the United States. Yet a common denominator underlies this diversity of subject – Sznajderman’s capacity to absorb and appropriate both close personal and second hand experience with similar intensity and present it in coherent form. However the frequent quotation of other works of art and themes, be they the work of his friends or 19th century French artists, does not become an end in itself. The artist’s intimate relationship with subjects is precisely what gives him the freedom to turn them into intricately and carefully planned compositions. Regardless of the subject, his work belongs to an expressionist tradition closer to the abstract artists than to earlier German Expressionism. Beneath the apparent maze of swirling emotionally charged often humorous forms, lies a paradoxical order.

Jacqueline Barnitz, Art Critic, Specialist in Latin American Art, Professor Texas University at Austin, TX
New York City, 1981

The still-life is the essential element, with the accessorial introduction of the figure or the landscape. The objects represented are not gratuitous. They are not just here for the composition. They are the thing and the content of the work, it’s “raison d’être.” His primary characters are remembrances – remembrances of Caracas, the city where he lived, the city which would mark him with his character. He considers himself and is thought about as part of the Venezuelan artistic scene. Amazing crossing of roads and influences. That Venezuelan period is evoked again and again: his mother’s workshop, the fabrics, the spools of thread, the mannequins, the art school, the models, the folklore, the theater and its scenery. All things become important in the remembrance and there is an urgent need to express it and preserve it before it gets erased from time and memory. There is a strong and resolute structure that brings together what would seem to be spontaneous accumulation – because essentially Marius is a classicist. The composition tends to lace together all elements in such a way that the space is extremely reduced, the “fear of emptiness” is mentioned by the art historians of the past, transforming these apparent still-lives simultaneously in time and space so that the elements are crowded like remembrances in the memory.

Juan Bujan, Latin-American Art Critic
New York City, 1989

Other artists have used the self-portrait to make their historical confession (as was clearly stated by Spengler). Marius Sznajderman uses the accumulation of figures, with corresponding “Erlebniz” to narrate plastically biographical fragments of himself and a culture that concerns us all. The whole past congregates in images waiting for the Last Judgment, giving an account of successes and mistakes…but with the dignity that the good art of Marius Sznajderman gives to whatever he touches.

Carlos Silva, Venezuelan Art Historian
Caracas, 1989

His extraordinary passion for painting, the art of painting, his sensitivity for the landscape, for color, for the craft and rigorous work, make him a very special artist whose influence was decisive on Venezuelan painters in a period of changes and renewals. He could be defined as the “soul” that gave impulse to the creation and the activities of the Taller Libre de Arte…His personality, full of vision, knowledge in arts and crafts, human quality, open vocation in communicating and working with a team, characterized him as one who paints and progresses in his creative labor, in spite of and against all obstacles…and manages to impose himself as creator at all cost.

Sofia Imber, Ex-Director of The Museum of Contemporary Art (MACCSI)
Caracas, Venezuela
Caracas, 1991

More experience than a state of mind, the calligraphy of Marius Sznajderman has a tendency of expressing itself in a closed circle where all its elements are tightly connected. Everything else is done by a dynamic line combining speed and vitality in the same way that the expressionist calligraphy expands itself, extroverted, full of pure emotion where all chance would be out of place. As result, the drawing structures itself in a maximum graphic efficiency like the final draft of a speech that summarizes all of its ideas.

Raphael Pineda, Venezuelan Art Critic
Caracas, 1980

The saturation of the image brings us to one of the characteristics of the language established by Marius Sznajderman: the longing to recreate the past, bring it to life and set it into the present. We are not in the presence of an art that reflects a cumulative memory, but with remembrances that reinvent themselves constantly. So that the Greco-Roman columns, the obelisks, the mask, the Etruscan figures, the pagan temples and the synagogues change in context, assume new meanings, mixing with a dynamic and vital vegetation that gives flesh and life to the memory. Marius creates an art of identity in a society that depends on novelty, on the discardable. So that in his imagery, the tree, the flower, the landscape, the face or the nude body retrieve their self and remind us that we should not detach ourselves from memory, because it is one of the pillars of all life in a world that moves in a maddening rhythm that makes us forget what we were and what we are.

Eduardo Planchart Licea, Venezuelan Art Critic and Historian
Caracas, 1991

In life as in art, style is the handwriting and Marius Sznajderman has always had his own identifiable signature that separates him from other artists of his generation. His work is the result of the joining of two worlds; the Judeo-Christian culture which in him was transformed by the indelible seal of an America, and that of the south, where he lived in Caracas during the crucial years of his early youth. Magician and collector of images, Marius gives the aspect of Tarot cards to whatever he creates – flowers, Judaicas, nudes, enigmatic figures….Whatever comes out of his hands integrates itself without difficulty within his vast artistic production.

Oswaldo Vigas, Venezuelan Painter
Caracas, 1998