NATIONAL ART IN FULL COLOUR. Rufino Tamayo and the New Figuration

.Estilo8 {font-size: 24px}
.Estilo8 {font-size: 24}



Rufino Tamayo

Mexico, 1899-1991

Red person on blue background, 1970

Ed. 94/100
72 x 57 cm

Ralli Collection


The art of Latin America must be understood as an art of its own, and its evolution as a reflection of Latin American art per se which is related to the different situations in the countries that make up the continent, and not as a derivative of European and North American art. Its evolution, therefore, is also the reflection of a concern and a search for its own identity by artists.

This room encapsulates an overview of styles that offered an alternative to the “official art” of the period from the 1960s in Mexico and Argentina alike, as well as in Latin America as a whole and the international artistic scene.

On one hand, Ernesto Deira, Rómulo Macció and Carlos Alonso represent the Argentine movement of the New Figuration, which proposes a reappraisal of the human figure through Expressionist Realism, with disorder and aggressiveness as an aesthetic proposal, based on an intense and flat palette. This aesthetic, based on imbalance, disharmony and the grotesque, aims to reflect the predominant social and political chaos.

In the figure of Rufino Tamayo, Mexico finds an alternative to established, institutionalised art, known as the Mexican School. Tamayo’s work, whose beginnings lay in Mexican muralism, evolved from the 1950s towards more abstract concepts and an individualised plasticity, with him being one of the leading exponents of avant-garde art in his country and the entire Ibero-American continent. Although he never abandoned muralism as a technique, his philosophy and aesthetic principles distanced themselves from those of the Mexican movement.

The artists who are exponents of these proposals are united here by their use of colour and marks, as well as the predominance of matter and plastic experimentation. However, unlike North American and European informalism, his works never completely lose their references to the motif, to the message, mainly centred on the human figure, which is represented with an existential background that speaks of the philosophical concerns of human beings.

The artists of the New Figuration movement use their works to reveal the political, social and cultural reality in which they are immersed, creating an international type of art that in turn reflects their national identity through individual and free proposals.

In the same way, Rufino Tamayo’s work is based on Mexican popular traditions and pre-Columbian mythologies to create art with an avant-garde language and national essence.


Related content