Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

The Mexican paintings included at the Venice Biennale generated such unanimous excitement among the critics and the European public that a request was immediately submitted to the Venice board of directors and the director of the exhibition to ship the entire collection to other European countries, specifically Austria and Holland. The critic Ceferino Palencia reviews the selection sent by David Alfaro Siqueiros, whose work was awarded the first prize. The critic mentions Madre campesina [Peasant Mother], El diablo en la iglesia [The Devil in the Church], and Nuestra imagen [Our Image], which display the painter’s expressive intentions as well as his power of communication. The exhibition also featured Siqueiros’ portraits and landscapes, which reveal his use of new pictorial materials.  

 

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According to the art critic Ceferino Palencia, paintings by David Alfaro Siqueiros (1996-1974) are distinguished by their pictorial experimentation. In those days, Siqueiros advocated the development of a “new realism.” As distinct from “artepurismo,” this new art was intended as a form of social criticism as well as a review of Mexican culture and history—not just in the past but also in the present and the future. Siqueiros favored the pictorial accident as a means of discovering forms and figures. This painter’s œuvre confirms that the idea of universality and the creation of a new phase in mural painting could be found in the synthesis of both pictorial experimentation and its socio-political connotations. Siqueiros used technical innovations—such as duco (pyroxylin), colored cement, documentary photographs, and electric projectors—not as mere pictorial elements but as a means of incorporating a humanistic and revolutionary approach. 

Researcher
Ana María Torres: CEPE, U.N.A.M. / CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Credit
Courtesy of Carlos Alberto Palencia García, Mexico City, México
Location
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas : Biblioteca Nacional/Hemeroteca Nacional