University Gallery, University of Essex, Colchester Campus

6 July 1998 - 10 July 1998

Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991) remains one of Mexico’s most eminent and internationally celebrated artists and UECLAA is pleased to exhibit his series Figuras prehispánicas donated by the Fundación Olga y Rufino Tamayo.

This exhibition, Figuras prehispánicas (Prehispanic Figures), includes twelve lithographs. These works offer insight into the lesser-known, but highly experimental facet of Tamayo’s indefatigable artistic production.

Directly inspired by Tamayo’s significant collection of prehispanic art, the twelve lithograph exbited here each depict a single prehipanic figure from various cultures of western Mexico and the Gulf Coast. In subject matter and the purity of the reds, mauves and blues of Mexico’s popular art, the Figuras Prehispánicas unites two fundamental aspects of Tamayo’s work.

As ever, though Tamayo transgresses from reality in his rendering of prehispanic forms fusing or removing elements as necessary. He thus retains their essential ‘Mexicaness,’ while ensuring that they endure as symbols of a past that has similarly undergone transformation, but is in many ways still very much alive.

Joanne Harwood, 1998

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