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Pedro Querejazu

(b La Paz, 1933).

Bolivian sculptor. He taught himself to sculpt by studying Pre-Columbian sculpture and ceramics. Between 1959 and 1961 he traveled in several Latin American countries; he then lived in Europe for twelve years, working in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and Switzerland. While in Europe he married the Swiss sculptor Francine Secretan, with whom he returned to Bolivia in 1974, settling in La Paz. In 1964 he was awarded the first “Queen Elizabeth” prize in the 10th International Sculpture Biennale in Brussels. Carrasco’s preferred materials were stone and bronze. His subject matter was based on the knowledge of the age-old traditions of native peoples and on their relation to nature, although his work is modernist in appearance. His earliest works represent seated women and later the munachis, or love and fertility amulets. In the early 1970s his art became more synthetic, more cryptic, and abstract. During this period his interpretation of the genesis of life was notable, conveyed in enormous spheres that were split open to reveal magical interior worlds. After returning to Bolivia his art became more figurative, as in ...

Article

Olle Granath

(b São Paulo, Dec 28, 1928; d Stockholm, Nov 8, 1976).

Swedish painter. Following a childhood spent in Brazil, he moved to Sweden in 1939. He studied archaeology and the history of art, specializing in pre-Columbian manuscripts, and he showed an interest in the theatre. In the early 1950s he worked as a journalist, wrote plays and poems and in 1952 began to paint his first composite pictures. In 1953 Fahlström published a manifesto, Hipy Papy Bthuthdth Thuthda Bthuthdy: Manifesto for Concrete Poetry (Stockholm), which manipulates language irrespective of the meanings of words. He saw an unexploited wealth, both sensual and intellectual, in its phonetic materials and in the distortions that occur when letters are transposed. In the following years he worked mainly on a large painting entitled Ade-Ledic-Nander II (oil, 1955–7; Stockholm, Mod. Mus.), where little hieroglyphic signs are arranged in major, antagonistic groups. Next, he appropriated images from such comic strips as Krazy Kat (for illustration see Comic-strip art...

Article

America’s interest in Pre-Columbian culture began to take tangible form in the 19th century. American explorer John Lloyd Stephens (1805–52) and artist Frederick Catherwood journeyed to Chiapas and the Yucatán peninsula in 1839 to describe and document Mayan ruins. Their research was published in 1841 as Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and the Yucatan. An expanded two-volume version, Incidents of Travel in the Yucatan, was published in 1843 and contained over 120 woodcut illustrations, and provided the first pictorial views of ancient Mesoamerica.

The ancient sites of Mitla, Palenque, Izamal, Chichén Itzá and Uxmal were first photographed by French photographer and explorer (Claude-Joseph-)Désiré Charnay between 1858 and 1860. The resulting images were collected into a book published in 1863 entitled Cités et ruines américaines, which later included an essay by the influential French architect and theorist Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc. Charnay made a second trip to the region from ...

Article

(b 1856; d 1944).

German archaeologist. His pioneering work in Peru and Bolivia between 1892 and 1912 revolutionized the archaeological study of Pre-Columbian South America. Uhle was trained as a philologist but later took up archaeology. His interest in Peru began when he was curator of the Dresden Museum. From 1892 he conducted field research for the universities of Pennsylvania and California, excavating on the Peruvian coast at Pachacamac and on Moche and Chimú sites. He worked in the valleys of the Chincha and Ica, discovering the production sites of Nazca ceramics. He later extended his work into the Peruvian highlands and to Bolivia, Ecuador and Chile; he also made a notable contribution to North American archaeology with his excavations of the Emeryville shell-mound in San Francisco Bay. His rigorous approach, influenced by the systematic excavations of Flinders Petrie in Egypt, emphasized stratigraphic excavation and the ordering of finds in an evolutionary sequence as a means of establishing chronology. The basic chronological framework he established for Pre-Columbian South America has only been superseded in the later 20th century....

Article

Milan Ivelić

(b Santiago, 1931).

Chilean painter. A self-taught painter, in the 1950s and 1960s he based his landscape motifs and colours on the Andes, using very simple forms suggestive of Pre-Columbian textiles in their flat, abstract designs and balanced chromatic effects. It was a question of subjecting archetypal shapes to a subtle and rational play of colour. While remaining committed to a careful technique in both his oil paintings and pastels, Yrarrázaval fundamentally changed direction in 1973, when he began to represent isolated and suspended figures undergoing gradual deterioration: faceless and with their bodies swollen as if by internal pressure, they appear to have lost their identity, leaving behind only realistically painted shirts, collars and ties. The suggestion is of a collective anonymity, an identity crisis embodied in purely external human gestures revealed through social rituals and through the status and prestige accorded to dress and fashion. Yrarrázaval continued in these works to emphasize the material quality of his paintings and the strong three-dimensional illusion of his forms, relying exclusively on the palette knife to reveal or conceal forms by a meticulous modelling of light and shade....