November 21, 2019

Two Latin American exhibitions

In the picture H.E. Mr. Carlos Herrera, Ambassador of Peru and spouse Veronique Miclea with a guest.

By John Dunkelgrün

The Cobra Museum in Amstelveen is going Latin with two mostly concurrent exhibitions, one “Intens Mexico” and a solo exposition of works by Enrique Polanco from Lima, Peru.

“Intens Mexico” is the result of an exchange between the Cobra Museum and the Mexican Museo de Arte Moderno. Because of that, it is able to show major works by some of Mexico’s most iconic artists, such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and David Siqueiros. The exhibition is divided into four themes and an altar. 

“Intens Mexico”, photography by Cobra Museum.

Modern Mexico began during the seven years long and catastrophic Mexican Revolution early in the 20th century. This revolution, which claimed some ten million lives, changed the political landscape and forged Mexico’s identity. Art, which had lingered in a post baroque mold reinforced by traveling Spanish painters, now took off in autonomous directions.

Cobra Museum, “Intens Mexico”.

Whereas before the revolution depicting, even recognizing, local cultures was taboo, artists like the three “Grandes”, Rivera, Siqueiros, and Orozco painted local people, local customs and local politics. This they did predominantly in the muted colors developed by the first truly Mexican painter, Dr. Atl.

“Intens Mexico”, photography by Cobra Museum.

Passions run high in Mexico. Most of the country is strongly macho, male-oriented, but an area in Southwest Mexico is matriarchal and has been totally at ease with different forms of love long before LBGT became a ‘thing’. Part of the Mexican culture is its fascination with death, culminating in all-Saints Day.

Reflecting these themes, the exposition is divided into four distinct areas reflecting art inspired by Identity, Politics, Sex, and Death.

“Intens Mexico”, photography by Cobra Museum.

This very worthwhile exhibition may be seen until March 29th, 2020.

Enrique Polanco, one of the best-known living painters in Peru, is fascinated by his city, Lima. He is an expressionist who works in wild “Fauvist” colors.

Enrique Polanco – solo exhibition at Cobra Museum.

His concern is the city itself, its buildings, its tensions, its unbridled growth, crime, and destruction. His works are not pretty in the traditional sense. He paints the pain of people overtaken by the growth of the city, people migrating into the city and -not understanding it- remaining in the margin. 

Enrique Polanco at Cobra Museum.

While he lives and works in Lima and takes his inspiration from that city, the alienation that is the red thread throughout his work applies to large growing cities all over the world. He shows us a mirror to see what is going on behind us, like in his painting of a burning building with a comfortable chair in front of it, but facing away. If only we sat there and took a selfie, we’d see hat terrible things are going on behind us.

Peruvian painter, Enrique Polanco, John and Anne Dunkelgrün and Polanco’s wife.

You may go there until November 11th and see both exhibitions in one visit, perhaps with a break in the museum’s very pleasant café.

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