Latin America’s artistic avant-garde movements of the last century drew from the aesthetic canons of European art, and were later influenced by the commercial trends that came from North America. Finally, Latin American art of the 20th century found its own voice in the rich substrate of regional cultures and achieved something spectacularly different.
In Praise of the Body displays hundreds of Mexican artworks from the period between 1920 and 1960, bringing together 56 authors: Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are the leading exponents, but there are also emblematic works by Rufino Tamayo, Leopoldo Méndez, David Alfaro Siqueiros, José Clemente Orozco, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Ramón Alva de la Canal, Tina Modotti and Leo Matiz, among others.
The exhibition includes painting, sculpture, photography, engravings and audiovisual art. The event highlights the presence of fundamental works by Frida Kahlo, such as Sobreviviente (Survivor, 1938), Itzcuintli Dog with Me (1938) and Self-Portrait with Chango (1945), as well as La Molendera (The Grinder, 1924) and Portrait of a Girl with Doll (1954) by Diego de Rivera.
It is divided into four sections: the body as nationalist representation (the Mexican Revolution); the body as a central factor in political allegories (utopias and social reform); the secular body (free of nationalism and politics); photographs and audiovisual works (political and social context).
Rafael Tovar, President of the Mexican National Council for Culture and the Arts (Conaculta), said the exhibition is a historical retrospective selection, which represents the synthesis of Mexico’s cultural diversity. He also explained that art expressions after the Mexican Revolution leaned more towards the figurative style until around 1960, when abstraction came to dominate the Mexican art scene.
Biarritz, a Belle Epoque landmark, will offer visitors yet another great excuse to come to the city this summer. In Praise of the Body will be displayed at the Bellevue Palace Hotel, Biarritz, until October 6. ■