Artemio Alisio (1942 - 2006)


    Artemio Alisio studied at the Escuela Provincial de Bellas Artes Juan Mantovani in Santa Fe (1956, 1958-1960) before taking over the curatorship of the Museo Municipal de Artes Visuales Sor Josefa Díaz y Clucellas in the same city. From 1966 he began to experiment with pre-Columbian techniques and imagery drawn from the Peruvian coastal cultures of Nazca and Moche, from the inland archaeological site of Machu Picchu, and from the Condorhuasi and Ciénaga cultures of Argentina.

    In 1973 he travelled to Peru, the first of a number of trips to Latin American countries that have strong indigenous presence. The following year he received a grant from the local government of Santa Fe to study in Spain, France and Italy, where he took a course in ceramic restoration and conservation at the Scuola Internazionale di Cerámica in Florence.

    Since 1966 Alisio has shown his work in solo exhibitions in Argentina, Germany and the UK, and has displayed a consistent interest in the mytho-historical ancestry of Latin America's Amerindian peoples. While Alisio has been described as 'a visual archaeologist', collective exhibitions have often reinforced Alisio's association with Surrealism particularly as represented by his involvement with the Argentine group Movimiento Espejo (Mirror Movement). This movement was founded in 1972 on the occasion of a group exhibition at Galería Imagen, Buenos Aires. Aldo Pellegrini (the writer who introduced Surrealism to Argentina via the poetry review Qué) wrote the group's manifesto and Victor Chab (examples of whose work are also held by ESCALA) was amongst the other members.

    In the 1990s Alisio began to work with themes from the Popol Vuh, a sixteenth-century book written by the Quiché Maya of southern Mexico. He has created more than four hundred acrylic paintings, three hundred drawings in pen and ink and several codices in ink and acrylic on canvas all exploring this dense historic document. While working and exhibiting as an artist, Alisio continues to work as a curator and conservator in museums in Argentina and internationally.

    Joanne Harwood

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