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Read Between the Lines: Enrique Chagoya's Codex Prints is comprised of editioned, accordion-folded artist books and the preparatory drawings and trial proofs created during their fabrication. The exhibition seeks to reveal how and why the codex format, made of amate, or bark, paper and read from right to left based on ancient Aztec, Mayan and Mixtec precedents, is a particularly successful artistic device for Enrique Chagoya.
The complexity of the codex printing process echoes the difficulty of the subject matter depicted therein: Each multipaneled print requires numerous plates, with a different strike for each color, and the artist often employs a variety of techniques, including lithography, woodcut, letterpress, and collage within a single work. Content varies and can simultaneously include satirical, multilingual visual references to contemporary and historical political discourse, ancient Mixtec iconography, American pop culture, and international art historical paradigms.
While ancient codices were designed as narrative documents, Chagoya eschews the strict linearity of the form, instead conflating diverse images to create intricate, richly layered objects that defy conclusive interpretation. The codex serves as the most effective medium for the artist's practice of "reverse anthropology," which questions the power structures that create dominant, normative cultures and seeks to address the complexity of cross-cultural identity.
This exhibition and accompanying programs are sponsored in part by the Friends of the Haggerty and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Special thanks to exhibition lenders Jordan D. Schnitzer, the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation and Shark’s Ink.
Wednesday, January 30, 6 P.M.
Enrique Chagoya conversation with Dr. Jason Meyler, Marquette University Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, in Eckstein Hall, reception to follow in the museum.
Saturday, March 23, 1 P.M.
Gallery talk with Associate Curator Emilia Layden, in the museum.
Free and open to the public.
All programs take place at the Haggerty unless otherwise noted.