Enrique Chagoya | the artist
The artist Enrique Chagoya
Born 1953, Mexico City, Mexico.
Lives and works in San Francisco, USA, .
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My works deal with a lot of opposites, and their interaction produces a third element, a synthesis, that occurs in the mind of the viewer.
I think in terms of opposites to balance each other, a dialectical interaction … that hopefully could trigger some laughter.
Drawing from his experiences living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border in the late 70s, and also in Europe in the late 90s, Enrique Chagoya juxtaposes secular, popular, and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States, Latin America and the world as well. He uses familiar pop icons to create deceptively friendly points of entry for the discussion of complex issues. Through these seemingly harmless characters Chagoya examines the recurring subject of colonialism and oppression that continues to riddle contemporary American foreign policy…
My artwork is a conceptual fusion of opposite cultural realities that I have experienced in my lifetime. I integrate diverse elements: from pre-Columbian mythology, western religious iconography and American popular culture…
It is very important to understand the relationship between art and society, Enrique Chagoya has said. Chagoya combines imagery from art history and cartoons, appropriates images from various cultures, and juxtaposes disparate figures in satirical ways. In a 10-foot-long scroll, titled An American Primitive in Paris, for example, he mixed images of Superman, Jesus, and Aztec diagrams with portraits of Claude Monet and Che Guevara. In making his art, Chagoya has used painting, drawing, printmaking, video-animation, and installation. My artwork is a conceptual fusion of opposite cultural realities that I have experienced in my lifetime, he says. Ken Johnson wrote in 2000 in the New York Times, Enrique Chagoya is a gifted caricaturist and mimic. He grapples with the conflicts of his own hybrid inheritance, giving expression to an irreverent, wildly pluralistic imagination…