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Exhibits & Museums

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The Mosaic Skulls of Andres Basurto

On 09, Mar 2011 | 2 Comments | In Artists, Exhibits & Museums | By man-admin

Mexico has a long tradition of mosaicked skulls, like the one of Tezcatlipoca seen above (currently housed at the British Museum).  Dating from the 15th-16th century, this mosaic “is believed to represent the god Tezcatlipoca, or ‘Smoking Mirror’, one of four powerful creator deities, who were amongst the most important gods in the Mexica pantheon. The name ‘Smoking Mirror’ derives from the Nahuatl (Mexica) word tezapoctli, meaning ‘shining smoke’”

The ancient artisans who meticulously created this work scoured the farthest reaches of Mexica empire to collect the rare and beautiful turquoise, lignite, pyrite and shell used in it.  Via both process and materials, this mosaic proclaims godliness and power.

Contrast Tezcatlipoca with the work of Mexican born artist Andres Basurto currently on display at the Lyons Wier Gallery in NYC.

Whiskey and Soda, 2010
Broken bottles and epoxy putty.  7 x 8 x 6 in
Image:  Courtesy of Lyons Wier Gallery, New York
Constructed of shards from glass bottles that at one time held wine and beer, Basurto creates “specific shapes that evoke the human skull and skeleton as a container of the soul.”
Vicky, 2011
Broken bottles and epoxy putty  7 x 8 x 6 in.
Image:  Courtesy of Lyons Wier Gallery, New York
Mr. Basurto is also a painter and sculptor of some fame whose work has been shown extensively throughout Mexico and has been featured in a number of art fairs and galleries in New York, Miami, England, and Scotland.
Soda and Sol, 2011
Broken bottles and epoxy putty  7 x 8 x 6 in.
Image:  Courtesy of Lyons Wier Gallery, New York
We can’t help but contrast the ancient and the contemporary mosaic skulls of Mexico.
The ancients used precious materials and the substrate of a human skull to construct objects that would convey the power of a divinity over man.
Vicky, 2011
Broken bottles and epoxy putty.  7 x 8 x 6 in.

Image:  Courtesy of Lyons Wier Gallery, New York

Mr. Basurto’s skulls, on the other hand are made of refuse, some of which originally contained liquids known to be toxic to mere mortals.  Further, the materials are the substrate – there is no human remnant to be found.
From the press release from Lyons Wier:

. . . Basurto’s sculptures represent the essential and primitive human desire to preserve and hold life together with the inutile need to control death, making evident the fragility of our existence.

Yes, we can see that.
Enjoy ––  Nancie
Andres Basurto, Inspired by a True Story
March 5 – April 2, 2011
524 West 24th Street, New York
(212) 242-6220
The Mosaic Mask of Tezcatlipoca (fascinating, really)

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