Luis Gonzalez Palma: Photographic Works

ShowingApril 18, 1997 - June 29, 1997

Luis Gonzalez Palma: Photographic Works presents this Guatemalan architect and artist for the first time to the Boston area. Gonzalez Palma portrays individual Mayans residing in Guatemala City not to document the contemporary urban scene, but rather to delve into deeper psychological issues. He poses his subjects with theatrical costumes and symbolic trappings such as angel wings, flowers, crowns, or skulls in order to reflect upon the position of the Mayans as an ethnic minority in Guatemala.

The photographs are toned with sepia and treated with bitumen to create a sense of a faded, faraway time. Gonzalez Palma then often scratches the eyes of his subjects down to the original white paper, setting up an intense contact with the glance of the spectator. The works are often defaced, torn and restitched to imply the presence of violence and an uneasy passage through history.

The artist has said “The situation in Guatemala is, like that of many other countries in the Third World, very critical. But I am not interested only in expressing this marginalized condition but in the consciousness of solitude and a reflection on the fragility and temporary nature of life. The indigenous face has been really a poetic metaphor of this awareness of solitude, not only of a human group but of all mankind. Of course my country causes me pain, just as the human race causes me pain.”

The nearly twenty works in the exhibition have been lent by collectors in New York and Chicago.


Saturday, April 19, 2pm

Through the Artists’ Eye: Portrait and Self-Portrait in Latin America Today
The curators of Nahum P. Zenil: Witness to the Self, Edward J. Sullivan and Clayton G. Kirking, will discuss the exhibition in a talk that will begin in the Bartos Theatre (20 Ames St., lower level) with a slide presentation, and progress upstairs to the LVAC galleries, where they will take visitors on a walk through of both the Nahum P. Zenil and Luis Gonzalez Palma exhibitions.

Free and open to the public