Saturnino Herrán (1887-1918), La ofrenda, 1913, Óleo sobre tela / oil on canvas, 183 x 210 cm, © Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA,

Hermenegildo Bustos (1832-1907), Autorretrato, 1891, Óles sobre Lámina, © Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA.

150 Works that Span the Four Great Eras of Mexican Art History

Figura con tres caras, ca 250-700, Teotihuacan (atribución), Cerámica horneada con restos de pintur, 18 x 2 x 9 cm, © Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte, UNAM, Donada por Ricardo Hecht, 1964.

Sergio de la Torre, New Dragon City (detail), 2008, film still, from El Horizonte del Topo, The Mole's Horizon.

Jorge González Camarena (1908-1980), El perico,s/f, © Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA.

Roberto Montenegro (1887-1968), La primera dama, 1942, Óleo sobre cartón, 27.3 x 36 cm, © Colección Andrés Blaisten.

Yvonne Venegas, From the series The most beautiful brides from Baja, California, 2002, Collection Centro de la Imagen, México, from Mundos Mexicanos, 25 Contemporary Photographers.

Ramón Cano Manilla (1888-1974), El globo, 1930, Óleo sobre tela / oil on canvas, 127 x 143 cm, © Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA.

Tina Modotti (1985-1942), Tehuana con jicalpextle, s/f, Plata sobre gelatina, 25.3 x 20.3 cm, © Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA.


Centre for Fine Arts
10, rue Royale Koningsstraat
02 507 82 00
Imágenes del mexicano
February 11-April 25, 2010

Imágenes del mexicano spans the four great periods of Mexican history: the pre-Columbian era, the colonial period, independence, and modern, 20th century Mexico. The Centre for Fine Arts is bringing together some 150 works of art (paintings, sculptures, photographs, graphic works, and films) by unknown and well-known artists, both Mexicans and Europeans who travelled to Mexico. The highlights include a selection of pre-Columbian sculptures, pictures by 18th century European travellers such as Claudio Linati, who developed a typology of Mexican types, popular portraits by Hermenegildo Bustos and José María Estrada, paintings by modern masters such as Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, and Frida Kahlo, excerpts from films by, among others, Sergey Eisenstein (¡Que viva México!), and photographs by Tina Modotti and Manuel Álvarez Bravo.

Imágenes del mexicano is the centrepiece of the México Festival. The exhibition presents the image of "the Mexican", as seen through the eyes of Mexican and foreign artists. Portraits of unknown and powerful Mexicans, images of ethnic minorities, and satirical works illustrate the artistic heritage and political and social aspirations of an ever-changing country, from the pre-Columbian era to the 20th century.

The works in Imágenes del mexicano come from private collections and from the most important Mexican collections: the Museo Nacional de Arte, the Museo Nacional de Antropología, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, the Museo Franz Mayer, and the Museo de Arte de Tlaxcala.

The exhibition includes a great diversity of portraits, ranging from nationalist images of the powerful and the authorities to depictions of anonymous individuals, workers, and ethnic minorities. Critical and satirical images offer an interpretation of what is seen as typically "Mexican". These varied portrayals form primary documentary sources for their times, evoking the visual culture of various periods of Mexican history and throwing light on the political and social aspirations of different social groups. The portrayal of Mexicans oscillates between reality and fiction, between social compassion and national identity. The works of art tell a story to others, but also to themselves. In this way, Imágenes del mexicano can be seen as a visual narrative of the mythologies about a people.

This approach ensures that Imágenes del mexicano is not just a fascinating investigation of the evolution of the "Mexican identity", but also a reflection both of how a people presents itself and of how it is seen through the eyes of outsiders.

It is not by chance that the exhibition is taking place in 2010, the year in which Mexico celebrates both the Centenario (the centenary of the Mexican Revolution) and the Bicentenario (the bicentenary of Mexican independence). Mexico is marking this double anniversary, not just with festivities in the country itself, but also in Europe. And Mexico has chosen to situate the centre of gravity of the European programme in the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts. The exhibition is just one part of an extensive México Festival that includes no fewer than five exhibitions: the other four are devoted to Frida Kahlo y su mundo, architecture (Mexican Modernisms), contemporary Mexican photography (Mundos mexicanos), and contemporary art (El horizonte del topo). The festival also features concerts, theatre, literature, and film. The Belgian public, moreover, will also have a unique opportunity to see Mexican popular culture close up in an evening of Lucha Libre. This spectacular form of wrestling, hugely popular in Mexico, is just one of many not-to-be-missed events in the festival.

Exhibition Curators are Dafne Cruz Porchini &  Luis Adrián Vargas. The exhibition is organized by BOZAR EXPO, Museo Nacional de Arte México, Conaculta - Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes.

Other exhibitions included in the Mexico Festival are Mundos Mexicanos, 25 Contemporary Photographers, El Horizonte del Topo, The Mole's Horizon, and Alebrijes (February 11-April 25, 2010).

Mundos Mexicanos, 25 Contemporary Photographers (February 11-April 11, 2010) keys in on Mexico's deep-rooted tradition of photography as a means of expression. The innovating impulse given in the second half of the 20th century by photographers such as Manuel and Lola Álvarez Bravo, Agustín Jiménez, Gabriel Figueroa, Nacho López, and Mariana Yampolsky put Mexican photography on the international map, where it is still very strongly present today.

The Mundos mexicanos: 25 Contemporary Photographers exhibition presents a number of the most significant works of recent decades. Roughly half of these belong to the collections of the Centro de la Imagen, which was established in 1994 with the mission of acquiring photographs and promoting photography in Mexico.

El Horizonte del Topo, The Mole's Horizon, featuring contemporary works, is a video exhibition that uses amnesia as an antidote to the ideological epic of official Mexico. It includes works by Miguel Monroy, Edgardo Aragón, Daniel Guzmán, Jorge Satorre, Ilán Lieberman, Teresa Margolles, Yoshua Okón, Sergio de la Torre, and Francis Alÿs.

Alebrijes is an installation in Horta Hall. Alebrijes are figures representing animals, both wild and domestic, and fantastic creatures, usually made up of hybrid or imaginary components. They are made out of branches of the copal (pine) tree and papier mâché. After being patiently put together, they are painstakingly painted by hand in bright colours, with weird and wonderful motifs dreamt up by the artists. Each piece is unique and is signed.

Tina Modotti (1885-1942), Dos tehuanas con jicalpextle, s/f, Plata sobre gelatina, 21,2 x 15,6 cm, © Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA.

Image from Alebrijes.

Alfredo Ramos Martínez (1871-1946), Dolores del Río a los 11 años de edad, s/f / n. d., Pastel sobre papel / pastel on paper, 160 x 180 cm, © Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA.

Diego Rivera, La Molendera, 1923.


José María Zepeda de Estrada, Retrato de Francisco Torres, 1846 © Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA.