THE SYMBOL TERRITORIES
The State Government, through the Museum of Art of Baja California Sur, has brought together a significant number of works by the main exponents of contemporary Mexican art as a dynamic and constituent element of Baja’ society and opens the dialogue with the national and global community, with which the MUABCS Collection was born.
This collection is showcased for the first time in the museum with the intention of housing and anchoring this material heritage in the collective imagination. This first reading of the collection generates new paradigms in the elaboration of discourses, transforming a new intangible heritage that gives a new vision to the elements of the transformation processes in the community.
The curatorial discourse of this exhibition aims to answer the following questions: what is the meaning of contemporary art? What does contemporary art mean for today's society? Is there a meaning?
From this approach, the MUABCS Collection is divided into 4 subjects through which it reflects on the areas where meaning emerges and transits: the individual, the collective and home. Through these four essays, the collection is presented as an important and invaluable set of works of art with which we can dialogue with the symbols of manifestation and social transformation of Baja California Sur. The subjects do not have a linear path, it is more a cyclical structure.
Thinking about the symbol rises a series of complex operations of meaning; it is always in an ethereal and changing state. The symbol is an arbitrary sign that is designated by convention, but this convention is determined from different perspectives, from home, from the individual and from the collective.
The exhibition includes more than 45 works in a variety of materials, which reveal different moments in Javier Marín's production, as well as the investigations and proposals that have forged his technical and aesthetic language.
Over the years Javier Marín has amassed a vast collection of his own work. He has done so because, as he has observed, “it is important to keep them in sight, because they will give rise to the evolution and generation of new quests.”
“Claroscuro includes key pieces that materialize and complement the artist’s discourse, works that serve as a laboratory for analysis and experimentation based on his formal and conceptual concerns, a first-hand testimony revealing his motives and processes, a portrait of the artist himself—a play of contrasts—as a universal and simultaneously unique individual.”
AND THE CACHUCHAS
The Tlaxcala Institute of Culture received in 1982 the work of Frida Kahlo. Three watercolors, a drawing and two oil paintings; none of them had a title or had been exhibited. These works belonged to Miguel N. Lira, who was Kahlo's schoolmate and friend during the National High School times (Oles, 66).
“Pancho Villa and Adelita” was named by Mercedes Meade de Angulo. The painting without signature and unfinished dated 1927, is a self-portrait before her time with Rivera. Here we see that she appears sitting in a café, posing not as Adelita but as a young woman from her time and in the company of two faceless (or unfinished) men. This work makes reference to the years of the National High school: “It must be interpreted as an urban café scene, with key references to the social and intellectual conversations that Kahlo’s friends had during the high school times, known as the Cachuchas” (Oles 68).
Frida’s modern spirit lies, not in her reference to the revolution or the aesthetics of stridentism, but to the presence of women in her work. The women appear as soldiers, both in the background painting hanging on the wall, and at the center of the painting as main characters at the café scene. In this “Pancho Villa and Adelita” we don’t see the references that we as audience are used to relate with Kahlo: to the accident, to Diego, to indigenous people. However we can see other elements that were already present and that will always be present in her work: a strong female presence and a revolutionary constant (or rebellious).
THE ART OF DRAWING
Diego Rivera didn’t always keep the drawings he made. The drawings gathered a year before his death were collected and cataloged by specialists and friends who reviewed drawers, baskets, notebooks and loose papers, both in his Home-Study in San Ángel and in Frida Kahlo's House-Museum, in Coyoacán. Other sources were the archives of the Anahuacalli Museum in San Pedro Tepetlapa and the archives of the private gallery of his last wife and collector Emma Hurtado.
The oldest surviving drawing of Diego Rivera was made at the age of four in his father house in Guanajuato and it represents a little train.
The train was a recurrent subject throughout his life. Among his common subjects are portraits, landscapes, markets, factories, schools and scenes of war or crowds, subjects drawn on all kinds of paper in different sizes. The historical subjects appear to be inspired by the ancient pre-Hispanic codices, as well as by the documentary sources of national history.
Rivera's drawings are full of liveliness due to the directional mobility of his strokes. In the brief space of a piece of paper, Rivera represented human figures with different expressions, urban or rural landscapes, flora and fauna with their own distinctive characteristics, casting an eloquent message of praise for the work. Among the loving messages that can be seen in Diego Rivera's drawings are those he made of boys and girls in which on many occasions he projected his own features, always remembering a happy child.
Diego Rivera added to his passion to recognize and disseminate cultural values in their ancestral diversity, adding historical fidelity, documenting himself to achieve this through the study and analysis of stelas and monuments. These testimonies were for Rivera living stones in which he knew how to unravel the great feats and the enormous achievements of those also enormous values that today shape the intangible heritage of Mexico. With his work and ideas, Diego Rivera is already an indisputable part of our history.
Veracruz Art Museum Curator
Veracruz Institute of Culture