Memento mori at Taqueria Clandestina

Nothing is absolute. Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away.
— Frida Kahlo

Hello again,

Taqueria Clandestina II happened again at Red Door Gallery and, as the last time, was a success, being able to gather more than 120 people and to spread the love through food, art and culture.

As the last time, this event was also an opportunity for me to create and exhibit a series of art works that are inspired from Mexican culture. Being very much interested in portraits and the portraiture theme at the moment I wanted to create something that represents the faces of some well-known Mexican personalities that shaped the history, art and culture in Mexico. After a thorough research and a series of choices and decisions I picked eight of these personalities and I used some of the most emblematic photographies of them as references to create the portraits. 

The creation process of this series happened organically, and even though I had an idea from the beginning how I would like them to look, in the end, the result was kind of different than what I envisioned in the beginning. And this happened, most of all, due to the unexpected results of the technique that I chose to use and the reaction of the various materials. So, I wanted to try something new, to play with the different image transfer techniques and to play with the light and darkness. And the subject of this series offered me the opportunity to play with the concept of visible/invisible, memory/present time and the representation of some cultural pillars from Mexico, such as: art, film, history/politics and...death. 

At first, the viewer can see the representation of the portrait of the chosen personality, which in a normal lightning, appears as his image that was recorded in a certain moment in time by a photography and afterwards became an emblematic representation of that person, by which is recognised today by a very large audience (mainly Mexicans, but not only). For this, I used various image transfer techniques, such as toner transfer (using thinner) and medium transfer, combined with acrylic paint, pencil and ink drawing on canvas. The second dimension of these portraits appears when the lightning conditions are changed and the light transforms in darkness. Then, another image is revealed (to create this images I used fluorescent paint): the representation of the person's skull, basically the invisible becomes visible due to the lack of light. Quite poetic and philosophic, I believe! And, there is no coincidence in the idea of representing their skulls: all of them are dead now, so the only proof that we have of their physical existence (besides the actual facts) is the series of photographies that were taken when they were alive. The skulls, as we all know, represents the remaining physical proof of our existence and is very often (if not always) associated with death. Death is a big part of humanity's cultures in general, but is has a special place in Mexican and pre-hispanic cultures where is very much acknowledged and celebrated. The memory and the celebration of the memory composes the rituals that surround the death culture and through my art works I want to celebrate the memory of this amazing Mexican artists, revolutionaries and creative people, and in the same time, to transmit the message that everything is here for a brief moment in time and that Life is temporary. Therefore, the name of this series: Memento mori.   

Memento mori, 8 pieces series, 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Del Rio, 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Dolores del Río, was a Mexican film, television and stage actress. She was a Hollywood star in the 1920s and 1930s, and one of the most important female figures of the Golden Age of Mexican cinema in the 1940s and 1950s. - Wikipedia

Del Rio (image in the dark), 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Rivera, 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez, known as Diego Rivera was a prominent Mexican painter and the husband of Frida Kahlo. - Wikipedia

Rivera (image in the dark), 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Gomez "Chespirito", 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Roberto Gómez Bolaños, more commonly known by his pseudonym Chespirito, was a Mexican screenwriter, actor, comedian, film director, television director, playwright, songwriter, and author. Wikipedia

Gomez "Chespirito" (image in the dark), 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Henaine "Capulina", 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Gaspar Henaine Pérez, more commonly known by his pseudonym Capulina, was a Mexican comedian, actor, singer, film producer, and screenwriter. - Wikipedia

Henaine "Capulina" (image in the dark), 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Negrete, 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Jorge Alberto Negrete Moreno is considered one of the most popular Mexican singers and actors of all time. Wikipedia

Negrete (image in the dark), 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Zapata, 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Emiliano Zapata Salazar was a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, the main leader of the peasant revolution in the state of Morelos, and the inspiration of the agrarian movement called Zapatismo. Wikipedia

Zapata (image in the dark), 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Valdes "Tin-Tan", 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Germán Genaro Cipriano Gómez Valdés Castillo, better known as Tin-Tan, was an actor, singer and comedian who was born in Mexico City but was raised and began his career in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua. Wikipedia

Valdes "Tin-Tan" (image in the dark), 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Khalo, 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015

Frida Kahlo de Rivera, born Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo y Calderón, was a Mexican painter who is best known for her self-portraits. Kahlo's life began and ended in Mexico City, in her home known as the Blue House. Wikipedia

Khalo (image in the dark) 30x30 cm, mixed media on canvas, 2015