The Museo de Arte Moderno de México (MAM) presents the exhibition Oswaldo Vigas: Looking Inward, which explores, 100 years after the birth of the visual artist, fundamental works of his prolific career, as well as his intellectual interests. The work of Oswaldo Vigas will dialogue with other Venezuelan, Latin American and European creators of the time.


Oswaldo Vigas: Looking Inward is curated by Carlos Palacios, with the collaboration of the Oswaldo Vigas Foundation. The exhibition highlights the artist's precursory vision, including his focus on his country, its people, and its popular culture. Vigas found in the material manifestations of pre-Hispanic history and in indigenous cultures, legends and myths, a map that guided the overall of his pictorial work, from the late 1940s until his death in 2014, becoming one of the most important painters of Latin American art in the second half of the twentieth century.

Looking inward is divided into three cores. The first, In Search of the primitive, is a brief tour of the cultural references and artistic manifestations of an ethnographic nature in Africa and America, as well as in Venezuelan pre-Hispanic art, fundamental sources for the development of the artist's later work. Looking at Venezuela, the second nucleus, reviews in a deeper and clearer way the influence of pre-Hispanic art and the indigenous groups of Venezuela in the painter's work. It shows how local popular traditions and beliefs, such as the dancing devils of Yare or Maria Lionza, become central motifs in his painting.

The last nucleus, Latin America and the Local: Time of Myths and Magic, reviews various European and Latin American artists who, like Vigas, make use of fiction, myth and the idea of a magical time to express their reality.


The exhibition brings together pieces from different African and South American cultures, as well as around 110 works by 27 artists from MAM's collection and from collections of public and private institutions, including Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Thea Segall, Carlos Orozco Romero, Wifredo Lam, René Portocarrero, Joaquín Roca Rey, Carlos Mérida, Francisco Matto, Lilia Carrillo, Pierre Alechinsky, Oswaldo Guayasamín, Rufino Tamayo, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti and Elsa Gramcko, among others.

Oswaldo Vigas (1923 Valencia, Venezuela - 2014 Caracas, Venezuela) was one of the most prominent modern Latin American artists who actively helped shape the cultural life of his country while playing a key role in the Parisian art scene between 1952 and 1964. Deeply inspired by the origin of life, the Venezuelan landscape, its history and mythology, Vigas started painting basing his work on a number of styles such as cubism, surrealism, constructivism, informalism and neo-figuration, all applied in a very personal way. Driven by the search for his mixed-race identity, he always remained faithful to his own convictions, which eventually led him to develop an authentic artistic image of his own. His work encompasses painting, sculpture, engraving, ceramics and tapestry.