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Juan Soriano at MARCO

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Saint Jeronimo by Juan       Soriano

Portrait of Rafael Solana by Juan       Soriano

Self- Portrait by Juan       Soriano

Self- Portrait by Juan       Soriano

Self- Portrait by Juan       Soriano
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Monterrey,
Jan 01, 2000 - Jan 01, 2001
Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico

El poeta pintor

The Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey (MARCO), Mexico, organized a retrospective exhibition of the master Mexican poet/painter, Juan Soriano entitled, Juan Soriano: el poeta pintor. The large exhibition includes paintings from 1934 to 1993 with a heavy emphasis on works from the 1950s, including an early self-portrait of the artist from 1937 and set and costume designs for the ballet, theater, and opera, as well as sculptural works from 1953 to 1999 mostly in bronze and clay.

Juan Soriano was born in 1920 in Guadalajara, Mexico. When he was only thirteen years old he started to paint in the studio "Evolución," under the direction of Francisco Rodrí­guez "Caracalla." One year later, at the age of fourteen, he participated in his first exhibition with a group of other students at the Museum of Guadalajara. At fifteen, he moved to Mexico City, where he came into contact with famous artists such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, Manuel and Lola Alvarez Bravo, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Marí­a Izquierdo. He also associated himself with a group of artists called the "Contemporáneos," and started to give drawing classes at the Primary School of Art. A year later, he officially enrolled in the Night School of Art for Workers, and prepared for his first solo exhibition that year by contracting with the Inés Amor gallery. At the age of twenty-five, he participated in various group exhibitions in the United States, where he met other famous Mexicans such as Octavio Paz, Carlos Mérida, and Rufino Tamayo. He was also very involved with theater from a young age, when in 1940 he began work as a set designer for the group "Orientación." In 1956, he founded the theatrical group, "Poesí­a en voz alta" (Poetry in a High Voice), together with Octavio Paz, Leonora Carrington, and other intellectuals living in Mexico City.

In catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, Rafael Tovar describes Soriano as saying "One cannot say this about many artists, such as Juan Soriano, that for them art has been a spontaneous and natural act such as those [acts] that form everyday life, and for this very reason, the most personal and profound [acts] of life." For Soriano, art was not limited to painting, but all artistic endeavors such as theater, poetry, and dance. His poems were mostly about his family and close friends. Here are a few of his poems from the catalogue:

The relation with the mother if it is not dramatic it is fictitious; by force it has to be traumatic since one is separated from her body in order to form another life.

Fathers are doubles: those that you see every day. With their defects, their barbarities, their unconsciousness, and those that have their life apart, distanced from yours. It is best to separate them, to see them from far away.

I painted everybody. To paint them was to know them and to know them was also to know myself, to discover the world in whick I wanted to belong.

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