Press Release

Enrique Chagoya is a native of Mexico who teaches in the Fine Arts department of Stanford University. In his work of the past six years, Chagoya has combined images borrowed from a wide variety of sources such as the Meso-Americans, contemporary North Americans, and European art history, to question the validity of cultural identity.  Who, for example, is the "real" American, the INS agent or the Mexican prevented from entering the country by the Border Patrol?  Indeed, is there such as thing as a "real" American, or Mexican, or European, or Asian, or African?

Included in the current exhibition are several such works. For example, in Undercover man, 2002,  Chagoya depicts several figures - African tribesmen, Afghanis, Aborigines from Australia and a European female - posed in front of an office marked Border Patrol.  Each figure appears to be a member of a tribe, yet the title suggests that one is a secret agent in disguise.  We don't know who the pretender is, a situation that  Chagoya seems to find not a little comical.

In Cartography, 2002, Chagoya borrows the form and imagery of the Nahua Testerian Codex , which was written in the mid-1500s and was intended to serve as a catechism to help convert the Meso-Americans (Aztecs, Toltecs, etc) to Christianity.  For Chagoya, this early codex represents an ironic blurring of the boundaries between two distinct cultures because the story of Christ is told in the format traditionally used to depict the life of Nahuatl kings.  Chagoya further compounds the irony by selectively replacing images from the original codex with contemporary images of his own such as a figure in a turban, an oil well, Batman, and a SUV.

Other works in the exhibition include The World Backwards, 2002, which juxtaposes a Cannibull's Soup can with a series of engravings showing scenes of life in  a World Upside Down (a man flies while a birds walks, sheep watch over a flock of humans, etc.), and Der Abenteuer der Kannibalen Bioethicist (The Adventures of the Cannibal Bio-Ethicist), 2000, a mixed-media print in codex form that gently pokes fun at scientific posturing.  There is also a multiple of ten Cannibull's Soups, titled The  Enlightened Savage, 2002, which includes Artist's Brains, Cream of Dealer and Critics Tongue.


Exhibition Checklist

1. Cartography, 2002
acrylic on amate paper, mounted on linen
48 x 48 inches
ECp 13

2. After the Battle, 2002
acrylic and water based oil on ink jet on amate paper, mounted
on linen
48 x 48 inches
ECp 12

3. Undercover Man, 2002
acrylic and water based oil on ink jet on canvas
42 x 60 inches
ECp 08

4. Dream, 2002
acrylic and water based oil on ink jet on amate paper, mounted on linen
48 x 48 inches
Ecp 10

5. The Illuminated Cannibal / El Canibal Iluminado, 2002
acrylic, water based oil, polymer, collage on amate paper
8 x 120 inches
Ecd 17

6. The Enlightened Savage, 2002
ink on paper, aluminum, soup
15 3/4 x 14 x 2 3/4 inches
published by Trillium Press, San Francisco
edition of 40

7. The World Backwards, 2002
acrylic on ink jet on amate paper, mounted on linen
48 x 48 inches
ECp 09

8. The Return of Goya's Caprichos, 1999
etching on paper
14 1/2 x 11 inches each
suite of 8, edition of 40
ECr 14

9. The Symbol, 2002
acrylic and water based oil on ink jet on amate paper, mounted on linen
48 x 48 inches
ECp 11

10.  Abenteuer der Kannibalen Bioethicists, 2001
color lithograph, woodcut, chine colle, collage on amate paper
7 1/2 x 91 1/2 inches
edition of 6
ECr 08.4

11. General Merchandise, 2000
acrylic and water based oil on linen
48 x 48 inches
ECp 07

12. Self Portrait as a Bandit, 2002
acrylic on canvas
16 x 20 inches
ECp 06