10 October 2009

The Beetle and Expressionist Sculpture

Doncha still love these? How can you see one of these and not smile?

I owned one at one time, as I suppose everyone of my generation has. I happened to own mine in Germany, an antique German version. It had no safety glass. One morning it took a rock in the windshield on the highway, and the whole windshield shattered and fell down in my lap. I love the memory of it all the more for that. I love the memory of the totally inadequate heating system and the frozen toes. Most of all I love the memory of its incredible agility in the snow.

The sage of the Beetle in México is indeed that—a saga. There are still many around here. The demise of the production was sealed by a Presidential decree declaring two-door automobiles unacceptable for use as taxis in México City where they were extremely popular as taxis at one time. A group of Mexican dealers bought one of the highly coveted last models that rolled off the line in 2003 and presented to the Pope as a gift.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Finally! An exhibit of interesting and troubling art at Bellas Artes, the home of the Davíd Alfaro Siqueiros mural.

Here is the description of him and his art from the website PortalSanMiguel:

Many of you are familiar with the fantastic iron sculpture of  Victor Hugo Nuñez from Alquimia in Fábrica la Aurora.  From October 2nd  check out his sublime iron sculpture at Centro Cultural Nigromante a.k.a. Bellas Artes on Hernández Macías entitled Estudio 3 + 2 Infiltrated. The native Chilean, whose large scale works weave a mythology which deals with life, death, innocence, sex, and childhood,  learned his technique from the Purpurecha indians and is considered by many to be exemplary of the finest of Latin American expressionist sculpture.

One of the local art persons, Linda Lowery, gives us the following background relating to one of Nuñez's other projects in her write-up concerning the local art scene relating to traditional Méxican art:

Dulces Sueños. The material is made of sugar cane and is based on an ancient compound used extensively in Michoacán. In the Basilica in Pátzcuaro there is a statue of the virgin whose face is made of a mixture of corn and orchids. Victor Hugo was given a grant from the state of Morelos to research the origin of this compound and to come up with a formula for it. For his first piece of sculpture he used a mixture of 1,000 orchid plants combined with corn cane. Not wanting to use so many orchids, he substituted them with building materials such as sealers and glues. He also substituted corn for sugar cane and added dirt and donkey manure. Through much trial and error, he arrived at his formula for Dulces Sueños.

I have several more photos of his iron sculptures on display but did not wish to overwhelm you or cause you nightmares. I will post more later. Dulces Sueños, by the way, translates as “sweet dreams.”

To my way of thinking, "expressionist sculpture" is a misnomer. This is surrealist sculpture.


Ruth said...

I just recently wrote a poem, "Elegy for my 1958 Volkswagen." It was my first new car, and the only car I have ever truly fallen in love with.
(cold feet, nonsynchromesh first gear and all).

When I brought it to my workshop, I found that almost everybody has a Volkswagen story. It defined the times, I guess.

Ruth said...

That is when I brought the POEM to my workshop, not the car.

The car hardly ever needed a workshop, usually it could be fixed with a little duct tape and a bent paper clip.

Señor Steve said...

You are so right, Ruth. The Beetle was a true icon of a particular time in the United States. It was an active icon here until a much later date.

When you are through workshopping your poem, consider allowing me to post it here. I would provide more than adequate attribution and append the full copyright notice including the thingie to the effect that it is posted here with permission.

Ruth said...

I'd love to share it with you, Steve, but not here. The Publication Gods have determined that a public internet posting constitutes publication. Almost all poetry journals will not consider previously published work. I love you dearly, and I love your blog, but I do entertain hope of this poem's hitting the printed page sometime.

Señor Steve said...

In that case I understand completely, Ruthie.

Ruth said...

I don't have a valid email address for you any more. Send you a copy via goodreads mail?

(This time the secret woid is "damtrimp." I love it. Way too good to be wasted determining if I'm a real live person.)

John said...

I bought my first car, a black 1960VW beetle, in Germany during my army days. I named it Froggy because whenever you turned on the windshield wipers, the little spray nozzle for the wiper fluid would pop up and down and thus it reminded me of Froggy Gremlin (ribbit, ribbit). You would have seen this car when I came to visit you in Lampertheim. There was no gas gauge in it so it was always kind of an adventure to drive it.