Once upon a time in Mexico

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Once upon a time in Mexico

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Toro

Mere mention of the country of Mexico conjures up images of spicy food, brilliant colors and vivacious music.
So it comes as no surprise that the paintings of the late Mexican artist Juan Soriano are soaked in vibrant hues, bold shapes and strong lines that capture both the mundane and surreal aspects of Mexican life.
But a new retrospective in Seoul of the visual virtuoso’s work doesn’t simply dwell on just one of his mediums, although Soriano was nicknamed “El Mozart de la Pintura (The Mozart of Painting.)”
The exhibit’s title is self-explanatory: “Juan Soriano on Paper, Tapestry, Bronze and Silver.” Sure enough, a diverse array of textures emerges among the tawny-skinned portraits that decorate the walls of the Korea Foundation Cultural Center, from the smooth sheen of a silver bull to the intricate textiles that comprise a tapestry.
It’s no wonder that the Embassy of Mexico organized this exhibition of Soriano’s pieces. The artist’s identity seems inseparable from Mexican culture. During his lifetime, Soriano surrounded himself with members of Mexico’s League of Revolutionary Writers and Artists, who opposed social injustice. With such contemporaries as artist Frida Kahlo and writer Octavio Paz, Soriano’s prolific career has yielded 130 worldwide exhibitions.

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A silver sculpture, and “Caged Death” , a painting by Juan Soriano.

Perhaps Soriano’s painting “Caged Death” best represents the artist’s death in 2006: Like the skeleton in the painting entangled in the verdant branches of a tree, the works of the self-described artistic rebel will continue to breed new life long after his death as younger generations continue to find inspiration in his art.

The exhibition is at the Korea Foundation Cultural Center until Nov. 28. The gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, but opens until 9 p.m. on Wednesdays and is closed Sundays. The nearest subway station is City Hall Station, line No. 1 and 2, exit 9. For more information, visit www.kfcenter.or.kr.

By Hannah Bae Contributing Writer [hannahbae@gmail.com]

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