Dismantling cultural hierarchies: a prefiguration of Mexican postmodernism in Enrique Guzmán's paintings

Date
2014
Authors
Scott, Gabriella Boschi
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Abstract

This thesis argues that Mexican painter Enrique Guzmán is a central figure in the transition between the Ruptura movement and postmodernism. Construed by many as a surrealist artist, Guzmán employs idiosyncratic imagery not to probe inner realities, but to explore themes such as abjection and the fragmentation of self into commodity images. Inhabiting the chasm between an oppressive ultra-conservative provincial culture and the turbulent revolutionary ideology of Mexico City of the sixties and seventies, Guzmán articulates, by fusing aesthetic categories such as, among others, the grotesque, the campy and the advertising cliché and exploring language, paradox and gaze, a deconstruction of cultural and political codes by satirizing their interlocking systems of signs and simulacra, initiating a critique of national and personal identity that will later be developed by the Neo-Mexicanists (Neomexicanistas) into a bold denouncement of sexual, socioeconomic and national marginalization.

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The author has granted permission for their work to be available to the general public.
Keywords
Enrique Guzmán, Mexican Postmodernism, Neo-Mexicanism, Painting, XXth century Mexican Art, Mexican art
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Department
Art and Art History