Raquel Tibol

Reflecting on the Art of Materials.

With almost fifty works of art (sketches, paintings, ceramics) at the Galería de Arte Mexicano, Pedro Diego Alvarado (Mexico City, 1956) clearly establishes his inner conflicts with the pictorial profession. He was a year and nine months old when his grandfather Diego Rivera died; however, from the beginning of his career, the son of the architect Ruth Rivera, unconcerned with anachronisms or stylistic calendars, displayed a desired, cultivated attachment to certain modes of the Riverian style. Perhaps he found his justification in the pictorial dynasties of the past: the Van Eycks, the Bruegels, the Juárez’.... In a recent interview with Nadia Ugalde Gómez, he acknowledges: "Since I began painting, my grandfather was always present; he belonged to a generation of painters with a marvelous craft…. The wonderful adventure of modern art brought with it the virtual disappearance of the painter’s craft. In the last 18 years that I have dedicated myself full-time to painting, I have managed to, if not recuperate the craft, at least to invent my own.”

Naturaleza muerta con violetas II, 1995, óleo/lino 73.5 x 116 cmsArmando Morales, a great devotee of the pictorial technique who invented his very own means of production, crossed Pedro Diego Alvarado’s tenacious path and dazzled him. Morales, who has lived abroad since the sixties and has studios in Paris and London, has a very personal complex process of pictorial elaboration: there is the scraping of successive layers of paint in order to thin them out and close off a sensitive, subtle texture of streaks, and the use of cans like prisms on whose surface the light breaks down warmly and sensually. He also places a lot of importance on the sketch, whether in the arrangement of objects in the studio or while doing landscapes. Morales doesn't teach, so only by becoming his assistant can one learn his sophisticated methods. That’s exactly what Pedro Diego did during a long spell in 1994. The results, nothing minor, are apparent in his current exhibit at the GAM. It has served him well to distance himself from Rivera, in terms of style, and to approach, through Morales, a very complex, essentially pictorial artistic kitchen, which inspires in the young Mexican creative energies in everything concerning light, color, atmosphere and distances.

Perhaps because he had not accepted his own enormous progress completely, or perhaps to demonstrate that to be aesthetical up to date is not a problem, Pedro Diego Alvarado produced “Empuñando el arado” (Clutching the Plough, 1995, tempera and oil on canvas, 114x195cm.), a naturalist composition that Rivera would have considered anachronic ninety years ago. With his skills and his love of the craft and by exercising his freedom more often, Alvarado should distance himself from this eclectic transitional phase.

November 27, 1995

Salomon Grimberg
José Manuel Springer
Luz Sepúlveda
Gilles A. Tiberghien
A Detail and an All
Victor M. Mendiola
Miguel Fabruccini
Silvya Navarrete
Raquel Tibol
Miguel A. Muñoz
Olivier Debroise