Timothy Taylor presents the first solo exhibition in the UK by acclaimed Mexican artist Eduardo Terrazas. Traversing the disciplines of architecture, design, art and curatorship, one of Terrazas’s fundamental concerns throughout his longstanding career has been our relationship with the universe and its infinite possibilities. In his artistic practice, this is most poignantly realised in the ongoing project, Possibilities of a structure, which is based on a geometric structure that is transformed through endless variations. The exhibition comprises four distinct series from this project.
Beginning with the Tablas series, Terrazas’s project commenced as a collaboration with Santos Motoaaopohua de la Torre de Santiago, a Huichol craftsman who lived and worked with the artist for several years. The works themselves manifest as wooden panels covered with Campeche wax, into which wool yarn is used to draw – a process appropriated from Huichol folk art. While geometric and graphic in form, the works retain warmth through colour and texture, as well as in the subtle imperfections of the materials and unique hand-crafting. At the same time, the works translate a richly historic craft language into a contemporary context, whilst also acknowledging the lineage of geometric abstraction beginning with the European avant garde. Further, Terrazas’s works explore the relationship between a detailed handmade technique, once used to create important ritual artefacts for the Huichol, that has since become a tool for kitsch souvenirs.
The yarn works are presented here alongside their corresponding drawings from the 1970s. As a young architect, Terrazas came to prominence as the co-designer of the logo and prevalent design elements for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. The logo – traced in concentric circles – led to experiments with the formal relationships of geometric elements through drawings, which in turn produced the yarn works. These works offer only a small aperture into a vast and eclectic career, and yet exemplify the underlying motif running through Terrazas’s multifarious practice.
Terrazas held his first solo exhibition in 1972 at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico. The following year was marked with exhibitions at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile and at the Museo Nacional de Arte, La Paz, Bolivia. A large-scale survey of his work was recently presented in Segunda Naturaleza, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Mexico City, Mexico (2015).
Early group exhibitions include the Biennale de Paris, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France (1969); and Graphics 1: New Dimensions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (1970). Most recently, his work has been included in Poule!, Fundación Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico (2012); Sharjah Biennial II, United Arab Emirates (2013); and Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955–1980, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA (2015).
Following a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México in 1958, Terrazas was awarded a scholarship for a Masters in Architecture at Cornell University, New York, which he completed in 1960. In 1962 he gained his certification in Prefabricated Architecture from the Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment, Paris. Terrazas was also a lecturer in Architectural Design at Columbia University, New York from 1964 to 1965; the University of California, Berkeley from 1969 to 1970; and Cidoc, Cuernavaca in 1971. Eduardo Terrazas was born in 1936 in Guadalajara, Mexico. He lives and works in Mexico City.
Eduardo Terrazas – Timothy Taylor – 4 September to 3 October 2015