"There is always something a man must do on time"
-William S. Burroughs
This drawing show is committed to the exhibition of a very personal selection of pieces and authors, whose work and ideas have inspired and influenced my development and practice as draughtsman.
The whole project departs from the drawing series La Verdad by José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949), presented for the first time in a retrospective show at El Colegio Nacional (Mexico City) in 1945. Among all the different production developed by Orozco throughout his career, this kind of drawings is undoubtedly the one that interests me most – formally and because of its subject –. This cathartic type of work, accomplished in the first attempt, freely mixes Orozco’s obsessions, ironies and critiques, and summarizes his expertise in the art of drawing. This series is a hybrid of the expressionist figuration from the Neue Sachlichkeit School (specially represented by Otto Dix and George Grosz), the caricature, and an automatic drawing closer to the abstraction.
Orozco’s work makes reference to a ‘whole’ that has been fragmented, destroyed and reconfigured, which represents the everlasting barbarian Mexico, the rubbish dump we still are, a battlefield grafted in this ‘civilized’ world. I reckon that La Verdad series exemplifies one of the most intense moments for this genre in Mexico, in which a number of different approaches, visions and understandings – figuration, graffiti, scrawling and abstraction – converged, likewise a white sheet of paper or a space apart from any concrete time. All this body of work has been a compulsory referent for the younger generations of artists that has emerged simultaneously to the descent of the Mexican muralist school hegemony.
This project was originally proposed as an exhibition of drawing, mainly conformed by artists that have developed their production in Mexico, considering the work of José Clemente Orozco as the basis of my personal vision in regards to the drawing that I am more passionate about and interested in. However, the image of the devastated field moved me to look back again and re-position the point of departure, choosing this time The War series by Otto Dix (1891-1969), which represents the moral and physical crudity that characterized the first half of the twentieth century.
With this exhibition I try to bridge two visions of the world and the medium that has marked and nurtured several generations of artists worldwide. The artists included in this show share a number of characteristics, specially the loyalty and enthusiasm for the medium and, above all, they preserve an expressive, cathartic, humorous and acid spirit that passes through the ‘generation’ I have achieved to gather. They too represent what is named nowadays ‘contemporary drawing’ – whatever that means. I want to make clear that I am not interested in limiting my work to that field at all, neither narrowing other artists’ work to any concrete time or space. My love for drawing comes from somewhere else, and this exhibition is an attempt to show it.
Accompanying the exhibition, a publication gives account of the artistic practice of the twelve participants, reflecting the profoundness of the dialogue, the intersections, the time, and the individual circumstances that have influenced these artists throughout their activity as draughtsmen, as well as their lives. The individual hands subtly reveal, favouring the exchange of this diverse generation of artists from Mexico and the world.
Mexico City, February 2007-April 2009
Gilberto Aceves Navarro (1931)
Otto Dix (1891-1969)
Philip Guston (1913-1980)
Daniel Guzmán (1964)
Paul McCarthy (1945)
José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949)
Julio Ruelas (1870-1907)
José Luis Sánchez Rull (1964)
Roberto Turnbull (1959)
Germán Venegas (1959)
Mariano Villalobos (1953)