La búsqueda del ombligo (The search for the navel) is a series of twenty-eight large-format diptychs produced between 2005 and 2007, in which Daniel Guzmán embarks —through drawing— on a research about the series La verdad (The Truth) made in 1945 by Mexican painter José Clemente Orozco (1883-1949).
Through the use of chiaroscuro, Guzmán synthesizes some of the characteristics of Orozco’s work, whose ‘first- attempt’ drawings leave exposed textures, strokes, and expressions while integrating figure, gesture, and matter. Guzmán's approach to format is a key element in La búsqueda del ombligo: both the middle line that separates the sides of each diptych and their geometric center, are structures around which the forms are articulated or confronted.
Although the juxtaposition of image and text has been a constant feature in Daniel Guzmán's work, there is an absence of verbal referents in this series' composition; however, the titles become progressively specific and full of references to the figures, characters and situations involved in each piece.
Guzmán combines and transforms a number of historic and iconographic references: Aztec gods, superheroes, movie characters, rock album covers, and characters from old and current Mexican comic strips and political cartoons.
Satire and violence merge in this work: mutilated bodies turn into landscapes, landscapes become atmospheres, and atmospheres transform into visual exclamations. There is also a geometric set of contrasts that references monumental forms (mostly from Pre-Hispanic sculpture) opposing them to the unevenness of organic shapes.
La búsqueda del ombligo presents an exploration towards possible representations of a specific origin viewed from different perspectives: chronological, metaphysical, cultural, and individual.