Visual Anthology of Mexico
Going into the exhibition room at Building A, National Gallery, Jakarta, our attention would be directed to a painting with nice bright colors and large enough size. The painting entitle “Beyond the Silence” (140 by 175.5 cm), work of great Mexican artist Rodolfo Morales, features a dead man lying on the grasses with light red flowers. The red colors of thousands flowers form the shadow of a woman face and two arms pulling the body. While two figures floating in the air are in front of the quiet body.
Looking at the painting we feel living in a world of dream.
This Rodolfo Morales’ painting is one of 60 art works by great Mexican artists in 20 century that were displayed in exhibition entitle “Visual Anthology of Mexico” at National Gallery, Jakarta, April 9-30, 2013.
Rodolfo Morales (May 8, 1925-January 30, 2001) has been known with his dreamlike surrealism paintings. He used to take mythology and folklore in his painting themes and the result is dreamlike surrealistic works. He was noted as a pioneer of realism magic that had been developed in 1940s.
Morales likes to paint indigenous people with old buildings such as church and old building at town squares. Together with Rufino Tamayo he was involved in the restoration of historical buildings in parts of Mexico area.
Rufino Tamayo, that his work was also presented here, is a great muralist. Long time before Morales started his career, Tamayo had been famous artist in Mexico. Born in 1899, has ever stayed in USA for some years, Tamayo has been known with figurative paintings influenced by modern art such as cubism, surrealism and expressionism. However, the theme of his works based on traditional culture of Mexican people. Tamayo likes to use single and pure colors. He was sure that the single and pure colors will give stronger meanings.
In this exhibition work of Tamayo presented here is “Iron Cross”. This painting features a gymnastic athlete with his pose like as a cross. This art work was originally made for celebration of the 1988 Seoul Olympics. However this pose was interpreted like as Jesus Christ on his cross.
Tamayo’s works present universalities and insights. He disagreed with his generation artists such as Jose Clemento Orozco dan Diego Rivera that using arts for political movement. He refused to be involved in political movement when Mexican evolution in 1910. He said that the revolution had been hurting Mexican people themselves. Because of his belief Tamayo had to leave his country for some years. When came back to Mexico he became a celebrity.
Tamayo died in 1991 and left two art museums. They are Tamayo Contemporary Art Museum in Mexico City and Museo Rufino Tamayo in Oaxaca.
To Know More About Mexican
Other artists that their works presented here are Diego Rivera, Angelina Beloff, Benjamin Dominguez, Gustavo Adolvo Monroy, Nahum B Zenil, Damian Flores, Sabastian, Betsabee Romero, and Cecilia Domenge. They are representatives of great Mexican artists in 20 century from various genres and generation.
One interesting painting here is “Santa Maria Park” worked by Angelina Beloff. This work shows impressionism influences from Matisse and Cezanne. Angelina is Russian that lived in Mexico following her husband Diego Rivera. But only for some years she has been Rivera’s wife until Rivera married other artist, Frida Kahlo.
Other painting, “I am Not Here” worked by Gustavo Adolvo Monroy, features a woman with a dead man on her lap in an old house. At the roof there is a figure ( a man) and a writing “No Estoy Aqui” (“I am not Here”). This painting reminds us about Jesus Christ who died on his mother Maria after his crossing.
The exhibition “Visual Anthology of Mexico” was held to commemorate 60 years of Indonesia-Mexico relationship. This event was useful for Indonesian people to know more about Mexican arts. It is really that Mexico has not only “telenovela” (soup opera) that so famous in Indonesia TV in 1990s, but also rich in arts and culture such as art paintings.