Artemio Alisio (1942 - 2006)

Yesterdays (1994)

Acrylic on canvas
height: 129cm
width: 124cm

Donated by Artemio Alisio 1995


Ayeres (Yesterdays) is one of two works by Artemio Alisio held by ESCALA. Both belong to the series Popol Vuh. The Popol Vuh is a 16th century book written by the Quiché Maya of southern Mexico. Often referred to as the Mayan Bible, its title translates as 'Book of Counsel'. Based in part on pre-Columbian hieroglyphic books (codices) this manuscript describes the history of the Quicé; Maya from the time of creation until after the arrival of the Spanish in 1519, recounting the adventures of the mischievous hero twins Xbalanque and Hunahpu, the two figures who feature in Ayeres.

Alisio has worked with themes from the Popol Vuh since the early 1990s, and this series forms part of an ongoing exploration of pre-Columbian themes and forms. These also appear in his sculpture and ceramics. Alisio is particularly interested in the mytho-historical ancestry of Latin America's Amerindian peoples; he does not merely reproduce pre-Columbian images but reworks them: imagined, abstracted and idealised.

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).

Joanne Harwood, 2008

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