This exhibition centers on the Mexican artist Gunther Gerzso (1915 – 2000), examining his progression from a young painter and talented set designer into a visionary artist with a singular style. The show highlights Gerzso’s admiration for, and relationship with the Mexican modernists and the group of European Surrealist emigrés who settled in Mexico in the early 1940’s. Its members included the British painter Leonora Carrington, the Spanish artist Remedios Varo and her husband, the poet Benjamin Perét, Austrian painter Wolfgang Paalen and his wife, the French poet Alice Rahon, and critic André Breton, who in 1938 declared that “Mexico is a Surrealist country par excellence.” Drawing from these influences, and taking inspiration from the landscape and pre-Columbian culture of Mexico, Gunther Gerzso invented a new style that married Surrealism with abstraction in a manner that became entirely his own. In the words of Octavio Paz,
In Gerzso’s case the transition from figuration does not imply a break with surrealism. The idea of the inner model is no longer explicit, but it does not disappear, and automatism is still one of the painter’s essential sources. It would, of course, be absurd to try to lock Gerzso into a school or formula: Gerzso is simply Gerzso – and nothing else.Octavio Paz
Our exhibition explores Gerzso’s paintings from the 1940’s, a formative period in which he experimented with Surrealist themes and techniques. His work will be seen alongside that of Carrington, Varo, Rahon, Carlos Orozco Romero, and others who influenced him during those early years. In this context, we will trace Gerzso’s intellectual and artistic progression as he developed his unique personal style.