Drache 360°

Alebrije 3

Alebrije 3

Alebrije 3

Drache Holz 360°

Alebrije 6

Alebrije 6

Alebrije 6

Drache 2 360°

Alebrije 5

Alebrije 5

Lagartija

Alebrije 8

Alebrije 7

Catrina 8

Catrina 8

Catrina 8

Catrina 6

Alebrijes

Alebrijes, fanciful, awe-inspiring creatures, are a staple of Mexican folk art. Usually painted in flamboyant colors and decorated with intricate patterns, they are known both to drive away evil spirits and act as dream keepers. They may well have originated in an urban adaptation of indigenous art forms and became popular in mid-twentieth-century Mexico city. Alebrijes as a genre are attributed to Pedro Linares, a gifted artisan whose workshop produced beautiful such figures, laying the foundation of their worldwide fame. The Linares family workshop was also famous for other high quality papier maché arts and crafts, such as piñatas, carnival masks, and the colossal devilish Judas figures burned in the course of traditional Easter processions. In the state of Oaxaca, too, there are similarly decorated if less elaborate figures also known as alebrijes, made of wood. Today, numerous Mexican artists have included this genre in their repertoire, a reflection of their commitment to the national conversation between European and ethnic Art, with every artist imbuing his (her) alebrijes with a style beyond narrow concepts of tradition and entirely his (her) own. In this respect, Adriana Bustamante’s alebrijes are no different. At the same time, they distinguish themselves by a high degree of detail as well as their fine craftsmanship, thus following in the footsteps of Linares’ famously terrifying creatures.

Just like the alebrijes, La Catrina fuses traditional and modern elements, and it is impossible to imagine Mexican vernacular art without her. Much has been said and written about Mexican folklore’s bizarre and ambivalent relationship with death, which is at turns tragic, comic, ironic, playful, melancholic and mystic. This multitude of meanings that is deeply rooted in pre-Hispanic cultures is also reflected in La Catrina. It was José Guadalupe Posada, the ingenious Mexican draftsman and graphic artist (1854-1913), whose work frequently featured this popular figure, most of all in his famous prints and etchings. Posada masterly used this surreal character in order to cast a satirical glance at the Mexican upper bourgeoisie of his day, a social caste chasing French fashions while having completely lost touch with their own cultural heritage. In Diego Rivera’s world famous painting, “Sueño de una tarde dominical en la Alameda Central" (“Dream of a Sunday Afternoon at Alameda Park”) from 1947, we see La Catrina and Posada promenading side by side.