Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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Synopsis

The Mexican Pavilion in the International Exhibition in Brussels in 1958 was designed by the architects Pedro Ramírez Vázquez and Rafael Mijares. The pavilion contained exhibition spaces and an auditorium and occupied 22,000 square feet. Upon entry, the visitors encountered an Atlante of Tula totem and an enormous wall that simulated a pre-Hispanic construction. A mural (11 x 11 yards) encrusted with precious stones of different colors was located on the principal facade, created by the artist José Chávez Morado. According to the author of the article, the style of the pavilion was meant to represent the simple nature of Mexican architecture; it lacked technical displays that lay outside Mexico’s reality and made special use of traditional Mexican materials.

Annotations

This article provides a detailed description of the Mexican Pavilion at the International Exhibition of 1958 in Brussels, Belgium, from an architectural perspective. By providing two items of great interest—the plans for the building and the criteria used by the architects Pedro Ramírez Vázquez (b. 1919) and Rafael Mijares—it allows for a reinterpretation of pre-Hispanic architecture and gives information about the use of local materials. 

The resounding manifestation of the national artistic production should also be noted: it spanned from the pre-Hispanic era to the 20th century. Eager to display the grandeur of the proposed discourse, visitors could encounter a huge Atlante of Tula and an enormous mural by Chávez Morado; this was meant to suggest a continuity of history and artistry.

These curatorial decisions, which were heavily criticized in later years because of the danger of transporting pieces of such large dimensions, nonetheless permitted the consolidation of imagery wherein the persistence of traditions acted as the principal element of social cohesion.

Researcher
Mireida Velázquez : CURARE A. C.
Team
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Location
Biblioteca Lino Picaseño de la Facultad de Arquitectura, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México