Guatemala: Memory And Timeless Avant-Garde 

Imago Mundi

Contemporary Artists From Guatemala

Amid archaic roots and artistic interest in the new, ancient harmony and uncomfortable controversy, myth and reality, 142 works express the extraordinary creativity of Guatemala. Perhaps this is thanks to the wealth of contrasts and the mix of influences of a land where 22 cultures and languages still coexist. It is undoubtedly attributable to the Mayan spiritual wisdom and traditions that invite people to look beyond appearances, to recognize the life that pulsates in every animal or object.  An ability to seek, feel, see and represent, which is shared by the painters, sculptors, designers, engravers, artists specializing in installations, in performance art, in object and video art, who accepted Imago Mundi’s invitation.    

Jorge Corleto - Big Mouth (2013)


A country and its flag; Guatemala and the quetzal, the magnificent bird revered by the Maya. With its long green tail feathers, they regarded it as a sort of link with reptiles: a snake with feathers, sacred to the gods. If caged, the quetzal quickly dies, and because of its absolute need for freedom it is a symbol of Guatemala.

Milagro Quiroa - Front: Bird; Back: Nest (2016)

«The heart of the ancient Maya civilization, Guatemala is still in many ways a surreal world, magical and ancient, with an extraordinary ancestral wealth that remains a fundamental part of its identity», writes Luciano Benetton in the introduction that opens the catalogue of the collection.

Negma Coy - The Game (2015)

« The country looks ahead, focusing on coexistence between lifestyles and traditions that are often entirely different. On one hand, the Mayan villages, with rhythms and rituals inherited from the civilizations that settled here centuries ago. On the other, the Western model with fast, noisy and hectic cities. In reality, this is not a true dichotomy, but rather two extremes between which fall the multi-faceted forms of a Guatemalan culture.»

Maggie De Bickford - The Divine Blood (Divinus Sanguis) Of The “Sì A La Vida” Series (2016)

« The country looks ahead, focusing on coexistence between lifestyles and traditions that are often entirely different. On one hand, the Mayan villages, with rhythms and rituals inherited from the civilizations that settled here centuries ago. On the other, the Western model with fast, noisy and hectic cities. In reality, this is not a true dichotomy, but rather two extremes between which fall the multi-faceted forms of a Guatemalan culture.»

Carlos Bernardo Euler Coy (Lilo) - Hit Men: Immolation (2015)

Kenri Gómez - Blackstar (2016)

The curator of the collection is David Urbina, Founder of the Espacio Alternativo, Proyecto Poporopo Gallery, Guatemala City: «The accurate research of the Imago Mundi project allowed to gather on this occasion a large number of visual artists of different disciplines including painting, sculpture, drawing, object art and installation. Many expressed through their works their personal vision of the world, but with the common desire for an in-depth exploration and artistic evolution from a personal perspective.»

Edgar Calel - Landscape I And II (2015)

Alexander Zuleta - Jacks (2015)


«Art in Guatemala is the result of a long memory process», notes Urbina: «Personal experience, the historical memory, the recent history of the country and the world mean that the artistic visions are related to different times even if recently made.»

Jamie Bischoff - Untitled (2016)

Manuel David Saquic Ordóñez - Dancers (2016)


Urbina concludes: «Inclusion is a key element in the curatorial process. There are in this Collection artists from all over the country, artists from small towns far from the cities and artists living in the cities, as well as artists who live half the time in other places outside the country. Since this is a wide selection and with many different views, the result reflects the versatility of the Collection.»

Carol Yurrita De Maselli - All Equally Important (2015)

Sebastián López Durán - Mirror (2016)

This is a selection of the works in the collection, accompanied by a comment from the artists who created them.

Irene Torrebiarte
«I want to talk about decisions made in the past and my relationship with them in the present. A process of reflection on all the experiences retrieving them with keywords that come up to me, as in this work, passing unnoticed in everyday life.»

Irene Torrebiarte - Reflections (2015)

María Aguilar Balsells
«I grew up with the consciousness of the whole, of the Earth, of the Universe, of my community and of I myself. Being Guatemalan I feel connected and influenced by the native cultures of my country (Maya, Xinca and Garífuna) and, at the same time, by my mestizo culture. I have a social conscience and open my mind to mankind, to other cultures and other truths.»

María Aguilar Balsells - Know We Are Here To Create And Enjoy Our Creations (2015)


Franco Arocha
«I sometimes had the opportunity to remove the paint from the walls of some houses. When I do this, little by little the owners notice the colors of the past that have an historical, identity value. The painting is part of our imagination, it is part of our landscape. What most people appreciate is not so much the importance of the intrinsic value of the pigment, as the process of taking care of it. There are large chunks that I can not put in a bag and leave, but I have to take them away with great care.»

Franco Arocha - Paint From Wall (2015)

Jonathan Árdon (Nathan)
«I declare myself a cartoonist to recover the dignity of a craft that is transformed into a profession through the constant pursuit of profoundness, which is at times very complex; talent develops naturally, but the profession is the constant search for what to say. We live in an age in which the absurd and the enhancement of platitudes have come to be placed on pedestals on which are transfigured into works of art. My nature can not deny the use of human measure as a starting point for the creation of a work of art in which there is evidence of the nudity of the artist who exposes himself next to his creation.»

Jonathan Árdon (Nathan) - Release (2016)


Edwin Boror
«I do my best to make sure that contemporary art is a reflection of pre-Hispanic art of the highest quality. Obviously all the art we know today comes from a glorious past, both the indigenous one and the Creole one. Masks, decorations, sculpture, stems and a multitude of expressions guarantee that a great past lay the foundations for a better present.»

Edwin Boror - Sun And Moon Mask (2016)

Karma Davis (David Pérez)
«The sound, the taste and the vision as part of an invisible twine. The art starts with feelings and then moves to reason. Feelings and reason. Afterwards the dialogue established between the message and the recipient. If the link is broken, time stops and the limbo is not an option. We just have to wait for a chance and the return of the time.»

Karma Davis (David Pérez) - Portrait (2015)


Luis Méndez Salinas
Finally, a work: (Yes), One Day We Will Bring Light / In Image And Likeness) by Catafixia, a publishing project dedicated to the memory of Guatemala. Poetry, nonfiction, history, fiction and anthology from different disciplines make up this dream. Alongside poets from Guatemala, Latin America and Spain, Catafixia intends to publish texts from young writers across the world.

Luis Méndez Salinas, Carmen Lucía Alvarado Benítez - Editors Of Catafixia - (Yes), One Day We Will Bring Light / In Image And Likeness (2016)

http://www.imagomundiart.com/collections/guatemala-memory-and-timeless-avant-garde

Credits: Story

ART DIRECTION, PHOTOGRAPHY AND PRODUCTION
Fabrica

CURATOR
David Urbina

ORGANIZATION
Valentina Granzotto

EDITORIAL COORDINATION
Enrico Bossan

TEXTS
Luciano Benetton
David Urbina
Thelma Castillo
Diego Ventura
Puac-Coyoy

EDITING AND TRANSLATION
Carlo Antonio Biscotto
Emma Cole
Pietro Valdatta
Martina Fornasaro

SPECIAL THANKS:
Diego Ventura
Puac-Coyoy
Thelma Castillo
Fundación Rozas-Botrán
Valentina Pozzoni

ART DIRECTION
Bianca Otilia Ghiuzan

PHOTOGRAPHY
Marco Zanin (artworks)

PRODUCTION
Marco Pavan

COVER
Alfredo Ceibal (Danger and opportunity)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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