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  • ICAA Record ID
    1324142
    TITLE
    The Masses are the Matrix. Theory and practice of the cinematographic mural in Siqueiros / Mari Carmen Ramírez
    IN
    Portrait of a Decade: David Alfaro Siqueiros 1930-1940. -- Ciudad de México, México : Museo Nacional de Arte, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 1997
    DESCRIPTION
    p. [68]-95 : ill.
    LANGUAGES
    Spanish
    TYPE AND GENRE
    Book/pamphlet article – Catalogs
    BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATION
    Mari Carmen Ramírez, “The Masses Are the Matrix: Theory and Practice of the Cinematographic Murals in Siqueiros,” in David Alfaro Siqueiros: Portrait of a Decade, 1930-40, ed. Catherine Lampert and Graciela de Reyes Retena (Mexico City: Museo Nacional de Arte, 1997), [68]-95.
    TOPIC DESCRIPTORS
    NAME DESCRIPTORS
Synopsis

Essay written by Mari Carmen Ramírez for the exhibition catalogue for Portrait of a Decade: David Alfaro Siqueiros 1930-1940, in 1997. Ramírez’s text focused on Siqueiros’s incorporation of new materials and photographic montage in order to transcend the static limits of mural painting in a given space. These technological, instrumental and mechanical tools allowed Siqueiros to produce images with the accessibility, immediacy, and emotional pull of the mass media.

Annotations

Essay written by Puerto Rican curator Mari Carmen Ramírez for the exhibition catalogue for Portrait of a Decade: David Alfaro Siqueiros 1930-1940, organized by the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, Mexico and exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston from June 1, 1997 to July 20, 1997 In November of 1996, the Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City opened to the exhibition as a way to commemorate the centennial of the birth of the famous Mexican artist David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974). The show, as well as the catalogue that accompanied it, was centered on the artist’s production during the 1930s, as this period of time is considered paradigmatic of the Mexican muralist movement. In her essay, Ramírez wrote about the transformation that Siqueiros’s paintings experienced after 1932 once he was released from prison and visited the cities of Los Angeles and Buenos Aires.  During this period of time, and until 1940 when he completed Portrait of the Bourgeoisie, Siqueiros developed the concept of “dynamic art” which aimed to transcend the static limits of painting. It was also during these years that Siqueiros introduced the term "Filmable Art", or "Pictorial Cinematographic Art", referring to an "art with the preconceived notion of being filmed”, that is, the synthesis of painting with cinema. For this art scheme Siqueiros used non-traditional technologies including photography, cinematographic camera, air-brush or mechanical brush. In her text, Ramírez analyzed the way Siquieros and his team applied these concepts and technologies while creating Portrait of the Bourgeoisie, considered one of Siqueiros’s and Mexican muralism’s masterworks. For this work, Siqueiros took into account the physical movement of spectators while climbing stairs. The mural, located at the headquarters of the electricians’ union in Mexico City, had to be placed in a narrow space along a staircase to be viewed while in motion. The spatial effects and the visual deformations were to unfold as the viewer climbs up the stairs from one story to the next. Each segment was to appear individually, forming a sequence. In that idea, the mural in movement would engage the masses in a sensorial way. The author suggests finally that Siqueiros's pictorial cinematographic art denied its status as a work of art, transforming itself into an artistic instrument of political struggle.

Researcher
ICAA team
Team
International Center for the Arts of the Americas, MFAH, Houston, USA
Location
Hirsch Library, MFAH