Unfolding Bodies

Héctor Velázquez

A retrospective of Héctor Velázquez’s work accompanied by two critical readings of the artists practice: Unfolding bodies, Inverted Dichotomies (Karen Cordero Reiman’s) and The Body in Mesoamerica (Alfredo Lopez Austin):

“Velazquez shows a clear desire to create another symbolic corpus, as well as to break with the conceptual divide between Mesoamerican and Western traditions. The latter certainly calls to mind an interest that has been manifest since the Romantics, a certain degree of Orientalism evident in the first archaeological explorations and representations. It is not by change that these concerns should surface in a Mexican artist trained in Germany, the birthplace of Romanticism, and whose relationship with that country —both on an artistic and personal level (his wife is German)— has been continuous. Transatlantic and transcultural relationships also imply a process of confrontation with “the foreigner within the self”—in the words of Julia Kristeva— and the consciousness, objective examination and reformulation of the identities one as taken on.”

“He adopts the technique employed in the “yarn-paintings” produced in the Huichol indigenous community, the nierika – representations of the Huichol cosmogony made by shamans, healers and priests – and takes up both their example of the male’s usage of thread and yarn, and that of the mystical process of allowing shape and meaning to slowly emerge, in a temporal and tactile experience that contrasts with modern-day acceleration and abrupt or decisive intervention.”

“Velázquez transfers this concept from a cosmological plane, to an intimate and subjective one, reflecting the overlapping of his corporeal and psychological identity with that of the people close to him – symbolised by the taking on or inhabiting of the skin of another-; the importance of the other in the building of one’s sell, this becomes physically manifest, as does the enrichment and fertilisation of the self with the relinquishment of one’s physical and spiritual isolation.’

Héctor Velázquez, Unfolding Bodies, Terreno Baldio Arte, Mexico, 2007

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