Selon la tradition islamique, le Bouraq ou Burak est un coursier fantastique venu du ciel, dont la fonction est d'être la monture des prophètes. Selon l'histoire la plus connue, au VIIe siècle, le Bouraq fut amené par l'archange Gabriel pour porter le prophète de l'islam, Mahomet, de La Mecque à Jérusalem, puis de Jérusalem au ciel avant de lui faire effectuer le voyage de retour au cours de l'épisode dit Isra et Miraj (signifiant respectivement en arabe : « voyage nocturne » et « échelle, ascension », qui est le titre d'un des chapitres du Coran). Le Bouraq est un sujet d'iconographie fréquent dans l'art musulman, où il est généralement représenté avec une tête de femme, corps de mule, des ailes, et une queue de paon. Image: Al-Buraf Hafifa, Buraq, d'après d'une miniature moghole, Inde, XVIIème siècle. Impact culturel: en Turquie, « Burak » est un prénom parfois donné aux enfants de sexe masculin.

Camión pakistaní con decorado tradicional.* El motivo del ser híbrido fabuloso que figura en la parte posterior del camión de carga es mitológico y se lo denomina Buraq (a veces Burraq, Burrak o incluso Bulrak). El Buraq (árabe: البراق, literalmente “rayo, estallido, blancura cegadora”) pertenece a la tradición islámica. Según la historia más conocida, en el siglo VII el Buraq fue presentado por el arcángel Gabriel a fin de transportar al profeta Mahoma desde La Meca a Jerusalén, luego la ciudad santa al cielo, y finalmente para que efectúe el viaje de retorno (Isra y Miraj, en árabe respectivamente "viaje nocturno" y "ascensión." Ellos constituyen además el título de un capítulo del Corán). El Buraq es un ser fantástico, rara especie de esfinge alada con rostro de mujer, cuerpo de mula y cola de pavo real. Imagen: Mike Spix, Pakistani Truck Rear II, fotografía de un camión de carga pakistaní en la ruta que une Islamabad con Lahore, en "Pakistani Truck Art," Mac, 2008; ver otra variante.

Al-Burāq (Arabic: البُراق‎ al-Burāq "lightning") is a miraculous steed, described as a creature from the heavens which transported the prophets. The most commonly told story is how in the 7th century, the Buraq carried the prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Jerusalem and back during the Isra and Mi'raj, which is the title of one of the chapters of the Qur’an. The burrak (also bulrak, or burraq) motif is derived from a fabulous sphinxlike mythical permutation of a woman's face, a mule's body, and a peacock's tail.** Image: Sultan Muhammad, Miraj (Muhammad's Ascent), from Khamsa of Nizami, Tabriz, 1539-43, British Library, London; see also Amir Khosrov Dihlevi, Muhammad’s Ascension on Burak, The History of Khyzr-Khan, Bukhara, 1598, MS SPL, PNS 276, f. 8b (Central Asian Miniature, Russia).

* "The extraordinary tradition of decorating trucks has its roots in the days of the Raj when craftsmen made glorious horse drawn carriages for the gentry. In the 1920s the Kohistan Bus Company asked the master craftsman Ustad Elahi Bakhsh to decorate their buses to attract passengers. Bukhsh employed a company of artists from the Punjab town of Chiniot, who’s ancestors had worked on many great palaces and temples dating back to the Mughal Empire. It was not long before the truck owners followed suit with their own design. Through the years the materials used have developed from wood and paint to metal, tinsel, plastic and reflective tape. Within the last few years trucks and buses have been further embellished with full lighting systems" (Peter Grant; Owais Mughal, "Pakistan Indigenous Art of Truck Painting," Pakistaniat, 18.6.2008).
** Desmond Stewart, Early Islam, Netherlands: Time-Life International, 1968, p. 24; Ligaya Fernando-Amilbangsa, Ukkil, Manila: Ateneo de Manila UP, 2005, p. 28: Burrak motif.


The Grotesque in Twentieth-Century Art

A brief overview by Alyson Muenzer (2004).[1]
When we consider what might make a work of art grotesque, we should probably look to Ewa Kurylik’s chapter titled "Distorting Techniques," for she suggests that the following terms are closely related to grotesque paintings and drawings: separation, mixture, reassembly, duplication, multiplication, elongation, compression, enlargement, miniaturization, reversal, simplification, overcrowding, and fantastic interpretation and projection. These characteristics will repeatedly surface [...] as we take a journey observing some of the most significant art to appear in the early-to-mid-twentieth century. From Dada to Abstract Expressionism, artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Willem de Kooning were constantly producing works that would redefine the way in which we see grotesque art today. Keep in mind that "grotesque" does not necessarily mean "gross." On the contrary, it can define works that represent a dream-like state, works that are deemed art because the artist says so, works that reveal personal suffering, works that poke satirical fun at politics and society, and works that urge us to question just what kind of world we are living in. [...].
Arguably the most important art movement from 1914 to 1918 is Dada, led by the rebellious Marcel Duchamp. Dada was known for its rebelliousness as well as the sense of nihilism that its art produced, a nihilism created by uneasy feelings and disgust generated by WWI. Duchamp was widely recognized for his "readymades"--commonplace objects such as a bicycle wheel or a urinal that were to be considered art because the artist deemed it so. Duchamp’s most famous work, Fountain (1917), is actually a urinal signed "R. Mutt," the signature being a pseudonym. Shocking the art world at its debut, Fountain represented Duchamp’s feelings towards the hypocrisies of his fellow artists and their supposed progressive views. Also, Duchamp’s work illustrated how the artist, by manipulating the context in which a certain object is found, could change the viewer’s perception of said object. Let us also remember that at the hands of Duchamp, DaVinci’s Mona Lisa was befitted with a mustache and goatee, again, a manipulation of context and art because the artist sa[id] so.
By 1918, Dada found its way to other parts of Europe, partly in thanks to the campy, rauchous, laughter-filled Cabaret Voltaire. It was at this time that Berlin Dada became a well-known movement, its artists screaming that something was not right in the world. Led by George Grosz and John Heartfield, Berlin Dada dealt more with politics and social issues in a bitingly satirical manner. Grosz, largely recognized for his satirical drawings which often appeared in newspapers, took much of his inspiration from drawings and scribbles which he found on public urinals and in children’s drawings. His Café Scene (1914) depicts a roomful of people whose characteristics are clearly exaggerated; their facial expressions are harsh, and not a single one appears to be someone whom we would want to have a conversation with. Each person is self-absorbed, and Grosz portrays this with a harshness of line and color. Linking Grosz to John Heartfield is the fact that Heartfield used several of his fellow artist’s drawings in his photomontages, pieces of work which were produced by combining drawings and photographs, adding in a bit of ironic, satirical text for an extra bite. Heartfield’s Adolf, the Superman: Swallows Gold and Spouts Junk (1932) shows Hitler, in an x-ray fashion, with a stack of gold coins for his vertabrae column, with his mouth wide-open as if he is shouting. Wishing that the viewer might gain a stronger insight into the cruel workings of politics, Heartfield’s photomontages illustrated didactic morals while addressing political matters.
Pittura metafisica,[3] also known as "Metaphysical Painting," was known for its use of strange combinations of everyday objects which served to represent outlandish states, along with a soothing, empty appeal that could be found in many works. Giorgio de Chirico, the forerunner of the movement, strove to produce works that would best represent the dislocating, bizarre-like state of dreams; his work The Philosopher’s Conquest (1914) seems to have roots in a nightmare-world as it shows tall, industrial-like buildings, cannons, over-sized, sharp-edged flowers, and a clock. Not surprisingly, Pittura Metaf[i]sica as well as Dada would come to influence the Surrealist Movement, one of the most infamous movements in art history.
In the mid-1920’s, a movement known as [Die] Neue Sachlichkeit, or "The New Objectivity," was gaining momentum in Weimar Germany. Some of the art associated with this movement consisted of detached, sarcastic paintings attacking German society while other works were indicative of the artists’ time spent in WWI. Otto Dix, whose works were often positioned between the fantastic and the harshly realistic, sought to portray society in a cynical, not-too-flattering light. His painting The Journalist, Sylvia von Harden (1926), leaves the viewer wondering if the person depicted is a man or a woman; it is completely androgynous [...]. The subject’s fingers and chin are grotesquely long, and there is a huge, black circle drawn around her right eye. Also producing cynical works dealing with German society wass Max Beckmann, best-known for his circus and carnival scenes which alluded to the phantasmagoric. Beckmann’s The Trapeze (1923) shows several circus players, pushed into a small area, much unlike the vast, wide spaces which these players usually require in order to perform. Each one wears an empty expression, void of feeling any disharmony at their cramped situation. Beckmann would soon go on to become a stronger artist in the coming years, but his metaphorical circus and carnival drawings clearly marked his advent as an artist.
Rejecting Dada’s cynicism while applauding its rebuff of logic, and incorporating the dream-like state of Pittura Metaf[i]sica, the Surrealist Movement took off in the mid-1920’s and produced works that showed the combination of several tendencies to yield art that was seen as ideal. Originally literature-based, Surrealist works derived much of their inspiration from children’s drawings and thoughts, [and those of] mental patients and untrained artists [as well]. Freud’s thoughts and interest in human dreams and behavior were also inspiration for the movement. Largely marked by the artist’s alienation from his work, Surrealism’s key artists included the likes of Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and Max Ernst.

Dali [...] held claim to the fact that his works came to him through his dreams and trance-like states. In The Enigma of William Tell (1933), several psychological aspects are at work; first, it is suggested that the painting represents Dali’s resistance against his father’s authority by showing a man who is kneeling, holding a small child, "William Tell" being the father. The severe elongation of the right buttock is seen as phallic while cannibalistic imagery is seen where instead of having an apple on the baby’s head (Dali’s head), there is a raw cutlet. However popular, fashionable, and influential Dali would become, these traits still did not prevent the artist from being cast out of the movement during the 1940’s.
Producing paintings with his blunt, matter-of-fact style, Rene Magritte was another major figure belonging to the Surrealist movement. In Magritte’s work, we can see the artist taking what we know as the pre-Modernist world and distorting it, reshaping the familiar in order to produce an alien quality. We also gain a sense of Magritte’s hallucinatory images through inconsistent pairings; this can be seen in his painting The Course of Summer [Les marches de l'été] (1938). In the foreground of the painting is a woman’s body from the collarbone down to the beginning of the thighs. The "body" comes to us in two parts: the chest area and the abdomen area clearly belong to two different human beings. The background scene contains the ocean, some mountains, and a blue sky interspersed with billowy clouds and boxes; however, the boxes do not take on a different color, for it is as if they are "box-clouds"; in other words, the boxes and the clouds combine and blend into one another. Magritte also enjoyed doing works which attempted to defy word meanings; for example, in one work, he painted a pipe, the only image on the canvas, and the caption, written in French, read: "This is not a pipe."[4]
A pioneer of several artistic inventions, Max Ernst was celebrated for his sense of the comic, and [...] most associated with [Dada Cologne and] the [more] literary Surrealist movement;[5] many of his paintings were accompanied with poems, often [...] children’s rhymes. In The Elephant Celebes (1921), he combines several inanimate objects in order to create a quasi-mechanic creature. His comic side is revealed as he has painted a tiny, little pencil beneath the elephant which is supposed to serve as some kind of [... support] for the enormous creature.[6] Ernst was also credited with the invention of frottage, a technique where objects such as string or floorboards, for example, are layered in paper, canvas, etc., at times producing works that come out looking like monstrous creatures. Obviously enjoying the combination of different materials to produce works of art, Ernst also extensively used collages to display his creativity. Often, he would take Victorian engravings and woodcuts and set them against images of free association, those that are so closely linked to the Surrealists.

A self-taught artist and also a non-believer, Francis Bacon ironically used Christian iconography in order to produce the masterpiece that would bring him to the forefront of the art world [...], Three Studies for the Base of a Crucifixion (1944). Many view this work as a summation of the primal feelings and emotions caused by the war. Bacon’s Head Surrounded by Sides of Beef (1954) was [...] one of his [most grotesque] paintings [...] based on a picture of Pope Innocent X.[7] [Bacon's] paintings show a sometimes-tortured, always isolated figure who has been blurred with the stroke of a brush in order to suggest human suffering. These particular paintings became images of a decade that was permeated by the threat of the atomic bomb.
Art Brut, or "Art in the Raw," was given its name by Jean Dubuffet, a French artist who believed that art should show that it is socially responsible.[8] Against any smoothness or fine finish that Dali was famous for, Art Brut aimed to take postwar art in a fresh direction. Dubuffet designed works which replicate wall graffiti, taking Surrealism to new extremes; he also used his graffiti-inspired paintings to portray sophisticated friends and intellectuals in a non-sophisticated way, as seen in his painting Generalized Activity No. 14 (1976). Yet another artist who made extensive use of collages, Dubuffet often constructed his collages with materials that seemed inappropriate for the uses he made of them, using materials such as aluminum foil, coal, or even butterfly wings.
Abstract Expressionism also produced several artists who created grotesque works; one in particular and perhaps the most famous was Willem de Kooning. Changing his pre-1950’s style of same "all-overness," de Kooning began to produce works based on women, presenting them as agents of both destruction and creation.[9] Using slashing brushstrokes in order to produce a destructive element, de Kooning’s painting Woman I (1950-1) asks the viewer, "Are women being celebrated, or are they being portrayed misogynistically?" [...]
Always in danger of being over-used, the term "grotesque" cannot be avoided when viewing many twentieth-century works of art. In fact, this essay barely skims the surface of those artists and their works. Many other artists have arguably produced pieces that easily qualify [as grotesque]: Joan Miro, Frida Kahlo, Paul Klee, even [...] Andy Warhol. Looking ahead, the twenty-first century is sure to be marked with art forms which qualify as grotesque.

References (and illustrations added by Mariano Akerman)
1. Alyson Muenzer, "Urinals, Dreams, Graffiti, and Personal Suffering as Art: A Brief Overview of the Grotesque in Twentieth-Century Painting" (Middle Tennessee State University), David Lavery, The Grotesque in Art, http://davidlavery.net/Grotesque/The_Grotesque_In/grotesquepainting.html#Muenzer (2004). See also http://davidlavery.net/Grotesque/.
2. Ewa Kuryluk, Salome and Judas in the Cave of Sex, Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern UP, 1987, pp. 301-7.
3. Muenzer's "Pittura Metafysica" has been replaced here by the original, Italian name of the movement, Pittura Metafisica.
4. Magritte's paradoxical image questions representation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treachery_of_Images). Representation in turn may well be used as some sort of ideological tool (Ann Marie Baldonado, "Representation," Emory University, Fall 1996, http://english.emory.edu/Bahri/Representation.html).
5. Cologne was under British occupation from 1918 to 1926, essentially just about as long as Dada lasted as a movement. In an atmosphere of strictly imposed order and censorship, Ernst and others protested hierarchy and tradition by exploring the collective subconscious and its incongruous juxtapositions.
6. In a conversation with Penrose, Ernst once noted that the title Celebes was derived from the opening words of a German schoolboys' rhyme, with undeniable sexual connotations:
Der Elefant von Celebes
Hat hinten etwas gelebes
Der Elefant von Sumatra
Der vögelt seine Grossmama
Der Elefant von Indien
Der kann das Loch nicht finden
(The elephant from Celebes / has sticky, yellow bottom grease / The elephant from Sumatra / always fucks his grandmamma / The elephant from India / can never find the hole ha-ha. William Jeffett, "Max Ernst," in International Dictionary of Art and Artists, ed. James Vinson , Detroit: St. James Press, 1990, vol. 2, pp. 864–65).
7. Bacon appropiated Velázquez's Portrait of Pope Innocent X (1650), but in his 1954 version, "animal carcasses hang at the pope's back, creating a raw and disturbing Crucifixion-like composition. The pope's hands, elegant and poised in Velázquez's version, are rough hewn and gripping the church's seat of authority in apparent terror. His mouth is held in a scream [or a grin] and black striations drip down from the pope's nose to his neck. It's as if Bacon picked up a wide house painting brush and brutishly dragged it over the face. The fresh meat recalls the lavish arrangements of fruits, meats and confections in 17th-century vanitas paintings, which usually carried subtle moralizing messages about the impermanence of life and the spiritual dangers of sensual pleasures. Sometimes, the food itself showed signs of being overripe or spoiled, to make the point. Bacon weds the imagery of salvation, worldly decadence, power and carnal sensuality, and he contrasts those things with his own far more palpable and existential view of damnation" (Marie Louise Schumacher, "Screaming in Paint," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 27.1.2007).
8. For a discussion, see Samantha Krukowski, Jean Dubuffet and the Deculturation of Art (thesis), Washington University in St. Louis, 1992, http://www.rasa.net/writings/dubuffet.html
9. Woman I has been "influenced by images ranging from Paleolithic fertility fetishes to American billboards, and the attributes of this particular figure seem to range from the vengeful power of the goddess to the hollow seductiveness of the calendar pinup. Reversing traditional female representations, which he summarized as "the idol, the Venus, the nude," de Kooning paints a woman with gigantic eyes, massive breasts, and a toothy grin. Her body is outlined in thick and thin black lines, which continue in loops and streaks and drips, taking on an independent life of their own. Abrupt, angular strokes of orange, blue, yellow, and green pile up in multiple directions as layers of color are applied, scraped away, and restored" (New York, The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, 1999, revised 2004).


Arte grotesco: algunos de sus alcances

Grotesco como arte visual. El término "grotesco" deriva del italiano grottesco (de las grutas). El sentido original de la palabra hace referencia a un estilo extravagante del antiguo arte decorativo romano que fue redescubierto e imitado en Italia en el siglo XV. Se descubrieron en esa época varias "cuevas" decoradas, que, según se supo después, eran en realidad recintos de la Domus Aurea, el complejo palaciego que el emperador Nerón hizo mandó construir tras el gran incendio de Roma en el año 64. Se llamó también grotesco al arte inspirado en la decoración de esas supuestas grutas, que se caracterizaba por la presencia de figuras absurdas, ridículas e imposibles, así como también por la profusión de adornos y motivos ornamentales en forma de bichos, sabandijas, quimeras y follajes (grutescos).

Teatralidad grotesca. El dramaturgo italiano Luigi Pirandello utilizó el término como sustantivo para su propio estilo teatral que refleja una realidad cómica y trágica a la vez.
En el Río de la Plata (Argentina y Uruguay) se llama del mismo modo al teatro derivado del sainete y el vodevil. El primero es un tipo de representación de comienzos del siglo XX que muestra la vida de los inmigrantes en los inquilinatos conventillos y la retrata en términos caricaturescos afines a la sorna con que los criollos solían ver a los europeos llegados en oleadas desde 1880 en adelante.[1] Se hacinaban en cuartos baratos, teniendo por lo general que compartir el patio común al que daban los mismos. La pieza más destacada del sainete es El conventillo de la Paloma, de Alberto Vacarezza, cuyo escenario es precisamente el patio de un inquilinato. Alrededor de 1920, el dramaturgo y director teatral Armando Discépolo introdujo un giro dramático y sombrío en el enfoque de esos ambientes y creó lo que él mismo llamó "grotesco criollo." Se trata de un sincrético subgénero drámatico cultivado en Argentina y en cuyo seno confluyen el grotesco italiano y el sainete criollo, junto con el espíritu del teatro por horas español. Obras de Discépolo, tales como Mustafá, Giácomo, Babilonia, Stéfano, Cremona y Relojero (estrenadas entre 1921 y 1934) son en esencia agridulces e tuvieron gran influencia sobre autores posteriores (Roberto Cossa, Osvaldo Dragún, Carlos Gorostiza y Griselda Gambaro).

El grotesco teatral está emparentado con el esperpento, forma dramático-crítica creada por el español Ramón del Valle Inclán y presente en sus obras Luces de bohemia (1920-4), Los cuernos de don Friolera (1921-5) y Martes de carnaval: Esperpentos (1930) .[2] Según Valle Inclán, el esperpento intenta mostrar la realidad en un espejo distorsionante, para provocar la reflexión del espectador. Su poética esperpéntica implica una distorsión sistemática de la realidad. Ella es retratada en términos grotescos, que persistentemente aluden a la decadencia, la miserabilidad y el sinsentido que el autor detecta como rasgos sobresalientes de la Restauración borbónica en España, a la que él mismo declaradamente percibe como una realidad deforme.[3]

Grotesco rioplatense. En principio se refiere al estilo teatral concebido por Discépolo. No obstante, el grotesco criollo ha cruzado la frontera del teatro y se detecta en el cine,[4] para también reaparecer en el campo de las artes visuales. Así, los híbridos, la exageración agridulce y el humor de doble-filo, todos ellos tan propios de lo Grotesco (género y categoría estética) no resultan para nada ajenos al arte criollo cultivado, por ejemplo, por Quino, Fontanarrosa y Nine. En Buenos Aires, una vuelta a los motivos grutescos propiamente dichos tiene lugar en el filete porteño,[5] que fue desarrollado desde hace ya más de un siglo y se ha fortalecido en estos últimos años.

1. Algunos de los autores de sainetes eran sin embargo hijos de esos inmigrantes. En sus obras el lenguaje reproduce el habla ítalo-criolla, mezclada con el lunfardo y términos vulgares. Las oleadas inmigratorias estaban formadas por españoles, italianos, hebreos del este europeo, sirio-libaneses y otros.
2. "Los héroes clásicos reflejados en los espejos cóncavos dan el Esperpento. El sentido trágico de la vida [...] solo puede darse con una estética sistemáticamente deformada. [...] Las imágenes más bellas en un espejo cóncavo son absurdas. [...] La deformación deja de serlo cuando está sujeta a una matemática perfecta. Mi estética actual es transformar con matemática de espejo cóncavo las normas clásicas" (Max Estrella, protagonista de Luces de Bohemia, escena XII). Otras ideas de Valle-Inclán: "Las imágenes más bellas son absurdas en un espejo cóncavo" y "El ciego se entera mejor de las cosas del mundo, los ojos son unos ilusionados embusteros" (véase Luces de Bohemia).
3. Según el DRAE, esperpento es un "hecho grotesco o desatinado," si bien en su sentido específico, el término designa al estilo literario creado por Valle Inclán y que se caracteriza por la deformación grotesca de la realidad puesta al servicio de una implícita crítica de la sociedad ("Esperpento," Wikipedia, accedida 10.11.2009). Dicho estilo teatral fue inspirado por los espejos de un bar madrileño al que Valle Inclán era asiduo. La fachada de dicho bar poseía espejos cóncavos y convexos que deformaban la figura de todo aquel que se encontrara frente a ellos. Así, la deformación exagerada de la realidad podía ser sorprendentemente desconcertante (como lo era para los transeúntes), pero además, a nivel metafórico, podía también ser considerada como manifestación crítico-social (delicia para un escritor rebelde como lo era Valle-Inclán). A través de su obra esperpéntica, Valle-Inclán distorsiona la realidad para presentarnos la imagen real que se oculta tras ella. Para ello recurre a la parodia, humaniza objetos y animales, y animaliza o cosifica a los humanos (personajes carentes de humanidad y presentados como marionetas). Tales características, junto a la degradación de los personajes, el abuso del contraste, la mezcla del mundo real y la pesadilla, la deformación sistemática de la realidad (caricaturizada en apariencia, pero de intención satírica y moralista), junto con la presencia constante de la muerte como protagonista, vinculan claramente al Esperpento con lo Grotesco.

4. Comedia negra del grotesco criollo o rioplatense, Esperando la carroza es una película de 1985, con referentes en la pieza teatral homónima de 1962. El film es una sátira amarga de la Argentina de los años '70, que pone en evidencia la incompresión, la falta de solidaridad y la hipocresía para con el prójimo. Es por eso que le aclara un personaje a otro: "Vos tenés una pobreza digna. [...] Una miseria digna" (Esperando la carroza, ver YouTube).

5. El fileteado porteño es un arte decorativo y popular, típico de Buenos Aires. Etimológicamente, "filete" proviene del latín fillum, que significa hilo; el filete es en principio una línea fina ornamental de gran valor expresivo (Analia Salaverría, Cómo trabajar con filete porteño, MailxMail, 5.12.2006). Puede el filete ser de corte decorativo-comunitario (ejecutado sobre medios de transporte u otros objetos), publicitario (carteles y afiches con fines comerciales) o independiente (obra de arte autónoma, l'art pour l'art). Entre los motivos visuales notables del filete criollo se encuentran los híbridos. Pegaso, sirena y tritón son algunos de ellos y tienen sus respectivos referentes en la mitología greco-romana. El filete porteño presenta también figuras grotescas en las que la planta y el animal coexisten y se combinan hasta llegar eventualmente a constituir una verdadera paradoja visual o unidad mixta. Mientras que el primer tipo de figuras es importante en la obra de León Untroib, el segundo es desarrollado por Santos Maschen. Para una mayor discusión, ver Fileteado en Wikipedia, Taller de Fileteado Porteño e Imágenes en Taringa.

Bajtin, Mijail. La cultura popular en la Edad Media y en el Renacimiento: el contexto de François Rabelais, trad. Julio Forcat, Madrid: Alianza, 1988.
Echevarría, Roberto González, y Enrique Pupo-Walker, eds. The Cambridge History of Latin American Literature, Nueva York: Cambridge UP, 1996, Vol. 2: The Twentieth Century.
Genovese, Alfredo. Fileteado Porteño, Bs. As., 1999-2009, http://www.fileteado.com.ar/
Kuryluk, Ewa. Salome and Judas in the Cave of Sex - The Grotesque: Origins, Iconography, Techniques, Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern UP, 1987.
Pellettieri, Osvaldo. El sainete y el grotesco criollo: del autor al actor, Buenos Aires: Galerna, 2008.
Robira, Javier González. "Valle-Inclán y El Esperpento," documento sin fechar, http://www.xtec.cat/~fgonza28/valle%20y%20esperpento.html
Sánchez, J.M. González-Serna, y Carmen Laffón. "Luces de Bohemia," Ramón María del Valle-Inclán (grotesco personaje), España: Callejón del Gato (Aula de Letras), 2007, http://www.auladeletras.net/valle-inclan/luces.htm

Véase también: Recauchutando el Esperpento


Hindu Deities

India is not a country... India is a world. Intense are its perfumes and flavors. And so are its colors, which are totally consonant with those of Hinduism itself. Contrary to popular Western belief, Hindu deities are not the individual gods of a polytheistic faith, but rather different representations of particular aspects of the one god, the source, Brahman.[1] The human or physical representation of Brahman's aspects or attributes in the form of deities is a vehicle for the devotee to focus his or her attention, devotion or meditation on that particular aspect or attribute in a form more easily visualized and held in the mind.[2]
The many deities of Hinduism, which may be seen as reflecting different aspects of Brahman, are represented by images, with diverse features, posture, dresses, and attributes. There is, however, a range of ways of representing a particular deity, which may well refer to several different qualities. In some cases, symbols are used to show that a deity belongs to a particular group or family, as in the case of certain deities associated with Vishnu, for example. In addition some symbols belong to the common heritage of Hinduism or more generally of India. Images may be made from metal, stone, wood, plastic, etc. But the image only becomes a murti (an embodiment of Brahman) through a special act of consecration as it is installed in the temple or home and only then becomes a focal point for worship. Sometimes an image is only consecrated for a specific period of time, as in the case of a festival (after which it will be destroyed, perhaps as part of the concluding ritual of the festival). Each deity is associated with a vehicle (a bird or animal on which it travels). The vehicles are used in Indian religious art to reflect or extend the powers of the deity with which it is associated.

Brahma. The creator. Sometimes bearded. Has four heads and four arms, which respectively represent the four Vedas (ancient sacred books)and the four cardinal directions. Attributes: vase of water (symbolizing the water from which the universe evolved), rosary (for counting the passage of time), book, crown, sacrificial spoon, linking disc, alms bowl. His wife and partner is Sarawasti. His vehicle is a swan or a goose. As creation is the work of the mind and the intellect, Lord Brahma symbolizes the Universal Mind. He is worshipped mostly by seekers of knowledge (students, teachers, scholars and scientists).

Durga means "The Inaccessible." Though loving and kind to those who worship her, as the consort of Shiva, she also symbolizes the violent and destructive qualities of the Mother Goddess (Shakti). These qualities are explained by a story from the Hindu tradition according to which she was born fully grown from flames which issued from the mouths of the Trimurti and other deities who created her for the purpose of destroying the buffalo demon, a symbol of death. Her weapons may include Shiva's trident, Vishnu's discus, bow and arrow, sword and shield, and javelin. Used for the destruction of evil and the protection of good. The eight arms with which she is often depicted represent health, education, wealth, organization, unity, fame, courage and truth. Some images show Durga with ten arms. Her vehicle is a lion or tiger which denotes her violent and aggressive qualities. A figure of power, she is a sort of feminine St George. Also called Divine Mother, Durga protects mankind from evil and misery by destroying evil forces such as selfishness, jealousy, prejudice, hatred, anger, and ego.

Ganesha. Its image is one of the most distinctive of Hinduism. Elephant's head and a human body. Often colored pink. The elephant's head is symbolic of gaining knowledge through listening and reflection. The two tusks, one whole and the other broken, reflect the existence of perfection and imperfection in the physical world. The 'pot belly' reflects an ability to digest whatever experiences life brings and even "the whole universe" is contained inside it. It is also a sign of well-being and of his role as a provider of earthly riches. Often depicted with one leg on the ground and the other folded, Ganesha symbolizes balance between practical and spiritual life. a theme which is repeated in the symbolism of some of the objects associated with him. Ganesha may hold in hand a rope or noose (to trap the things which distract the mind), a goad or iron hook (to control desires), a bowl of sweets (earthly prosperity and well-being), axe or trident (linking him to Shive). Shell, water lily, mace and discus are other of his attributes. His four arms symbolize various aspects of Hinduism such as the four Vedas, the four aims of Hinduism and the four stages of life. His vehicle is a rat or a mouse (known for its ability to gnaw through barriers). The combination of the elephant and the rat or mouse ensures that all obstacles, of whatever size, are removed. Ganesha is worshipped as the deity who removes barriers and bestows wisdom and good fortune. As god of wisdom he is invoked at the beginning of books and may be shown holding a tusk as a pen since he is regarded as the writer of the scriptures and hence the patron of schools and of the written word. In Hindu mythology Ganesha is identified as the son of Shiva and Parvati. The custom of placing an image of Ganesha at doorways recalls the story of his courage in defending his mother. Having lost his head, this was replaced by that of the first living animal that came along, an elephant.

Hanuman, whose image is in the form of a muscled monkey, is associated with the Ramayana, the story of Rama and Sita. In the story, Sita, Rama's wife, is kidnapped by the evil, ten-headed demon Ravana, who carries her off to his fortress in the island of Lanka. At great risk to his own safety, Hanuman finds Sita and then returns to help Rama build a bridge over to the island to rescue Sita. During the ensuing battle, Rama's brother Lakshmana is was fatally wounded. Hanuman i s sent to fetch healing herbs that grow on certain mountain. Unable to identify the herbs, he uproots the whole mountain and brings it back to the site of the battle thus saving Lakshmana's life. Images of Hanuman often show him holding the mountain in his hand. A model for human devotion to God, he is also depicted with paws clasped together in reverence. He represents strength and loyalty and exemplifies the idea that animals are also a part of the Creation. Hanuman is the son of the wind god, so he is able to fly and change shape at will. He is one of the few gods without a consort.

Kali, which means "black," represents the terrifying aspect of the Mother Goddess, whose kindly or benign aspect is embodied by the goddess Laxmi. Kali is associated with ethernal energy. Goddess of time and change. Usually depicted naked or wearing a predator's skin, with disheveled hair, eyes rolling of intoxication. She has fang-like teeth. Her lolling tongue dripping with blood hangs from her mouth. Around her neck wears a necklace of skulls. She is usually shown with four arms, holding either severed heads or arms such as a dagger and a sword. She dances on the body of her consort, Shiva. Though her hands are blood-stained, one of them may be raised in a gesture of assurance, in the midst of destruction. Kali embodies the Indian tradition of bringing together seemingly contradictory aspects of life. Some people link her with the ancestral Earth Mother, whose power was shown both in the fertility of the earth and in the receiving of the bodies of dead. Kali represents the realities of life and death. Devourer of time (kala means "the force of time), Kali stands for the frightening, painful side of life which everyone who desires to progress spiritually must face and overcome.

Krishna, the "one who attracts or draws people" and "drains away sins" is the eighth, and most important avatar of Vishnu. Embodies joy, freedom and love. A wonderful and mischievous child, grows into a youth loved by the gopis, the cowherd girls. His involvement with the gopis in amorous dance symbolizes a passionate union with God. Often depicted playing his irresistible flute to summon the gopis. He is also shown as powerful, destroying the evil snake, Kaliya (who has poisoned the life-giving waters of one of India's sacred rivers). He is typically depicted with dark blue skin, wearing a yellow loin cloth and a crown of peacock feather. The Gopis represent the individual souls trapped in physical bodies. Krishna's favorite gopi, Rhada is symbolic of the individual soul awakened to the love of God and absorbed in such love. The sound of Krishna's flute represents the call of the divine for the individual souls. The gopis' love for Krishna symbolize the bond between the individual soul and God. In the forest, the gopis dance with Krishna and are absorbed in their love for him. The Hindu tradition is rich in poetry about the love of Krishna and Radha which is valued as an expression of human love and also as a symbol of the love of the soul for God.

Laxmi, one of the forms of the Mother Goddess, is the goddess of fortune and wealth, and the consort of Vishnu. She is usually called "Shri." She is associated with the festival of Divali as the bringer of blessings for the new year. A four-armed goddess of good fortune, she holds lotus flowers and pours out wealth in the form of gold coins. She is also the goddess of beauty and as such is shown as a young and beautiful, decorated with jewels (then with two arms olny). She is often seated on a lotus, which is a symbol of fertility and purity (for it grows with power and beauty form the mud). In India, with its lack of a constant dependable supply of water, water is a symbol of plenty. Lakshmi's vehicle is a white owl.

Parvati, daughter of the Himalayas, represents the gentler qualities of the Mother Goddess. Her docile obedience toher husband, Shiva is seen as a model of the worshipper's relationship to God. Although behind Parvati lies the power of the Mother Goddess, which is felt by many Hindus to be greater than that of all the other deities.

Rama which means "one who permeates and who is present in everything and everyone" is the seventh avatar of Vishnu. The Ramayana, which is one of the most popular stories in the Hindu tradition, tells of Rama's exploits. As a young prince he performs heroic acts and in due course wins the beautiful Sita as his wife after succeeding in bending a great war bow. Cheated of his rightful role as successor to his father the king, he goes off into exile. Sita and his brother Lakshmana insist in going with him. One day Sita is kidnapped by the ten-headed demon Ravana and carried off to his stronghold in the island of Lanka. Helped by Hanuman, the god-king of the monkeys, Rama defeats Ravana and his army in battle and rescues Sita. They then return to their kingdom where Rama is given his rightful place as king. The Ramdarbar is the name given to the group of figures who appear in the Ramayana - Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman. Rama is the model of reason, right action and commendable virtues. He is often depicted with a tall conical cap which symbolizes his royal status. Rama represents the ideal man, as conceived by the Hindus. In the story of Ramayana, Rama's personality depicts him as the perfect son, devoted brother, true husband, trusted friend, ideal king, and a noble adversary. Sita and Rama are the model wife and husband in the Hindu tradition. Sita is also understood as an avatar of the goddess Laxmi, the consort of Vishnu: when Vishnu took on human form as Rama, Lakshmi took on human form as Sita.

Saraswati is the consort of Brahma. Goddess of wisdom and music, and the arts in general. Usually depicted as fair-skinned, beautiful and elegant and dressed in white garments. Attributes: the vina (an Indian stringed musical instrument), a flute, a manuscript or a book. Sanskrit, the ancient sacred language of Hinduism, is said to have been created by her. Her vehicle is usually a peacock, but she may also be seen with a swan or a goose (the vehicles associated with Brahma). Saraswati is the Goddess of learning, knowledge, and wisdom.

Shiva is one of the three main forms of Brahman and represents the power of destruction. But as the old has to be destroyed to give rise to the new, he is also seen by his followers as the lord of creation. Perhaps the greatest of the Hindu deities, he is given a range of titles which include Maha-deva (great god), Maha-yogi (great ascetic), and Nata-raja (lord of dance). Shiva has over 100 names. His name means "auspicious" or "kindly," for Shiva is the destroyer of illusion and ignorance that stands in the way of union and enlightenment. Shiva's consort may take several forms and these reflect the different aspects of his character and qualities. Parvati reflects the gentle aspects whereas Durga and, even more so, Kali reflect the fiercer elements. Ganesha is one of Shiva and Parvati's sons. Shiva's weapon is the trident, a reminder of his role in the whole process of creation, preservation and destruction. It also reflects the three qualities of goodness, passion and darkness, which are in all things in different proportions. Another feature of Shiva is his third eye which represents both spiritual insight and the ability to burn up anything which may hinder such insight. The three horizontal lines on his forehead represent the three sources of light (fire, sun and moon), or his ability to see the past, present and future. The three lines may also, as with the trident, represent the three qualities of goodness, passion and darkness. Shiva is depicted with snakes around his neck or across his body. The snake alludes to the spiritual power which may be developed through yoga and also Shiva's power to deal with death. Rosaries show his mastery of the spiritual sciences. He is often depicted sitting on a tiger skin, a symbol of the cruel forces of nature, over which he is lord. Shiva's vehicle is Nandi, a white bull that represents strength and fertility. As the bull is ridden by Shiva, it symbolizes the god's control over these powers. Sometimes he sits in a meditative pose reflecting peace and perfect inner harmony. Shiva is the Lord of mercy and compassion. He protects devotees from evil forces such as lust, greed, and anger. He annihilates evil, grants boons, bestows grace, destroys ignorance, and awakens wisdom in His devotees.

Trimurti. The three main forms or manifestations of Brahman, the Supreme Spirit or Power of the universe. The Trimurti is a cincept in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva the destroyer or transformer. These three deities have constitute the Hindu Triad or Great Trinity.[3]

Vishnu is the sustainer. He may be depicted with two or four arms. Images of Vishnu combine compassion and strength. The four symbols most commonly associated with Vishnu are the conch shell which represents water and the first sound of creation, the lotus which symbolizes the unfolding universe, the mace which is interpreted as the power of knowledge conquering time and finally the discus, which is associated with the conquering of evil and ignorance. Vishnu may be recognized by the U shaped symbol on his forehead. His vehicle is Garuda, depicted either as a crowned eagle or as a bird with a man's head. Vishnu is a powerful opponent of evil. The hood of snakes' heads which shelter him represents the endless cycles of creation and reflects one of the central stories of creation in the Hindu tradition.[4]

1. Brahman is the unchanging, infinite, inmanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, and being.
2. "Images of Hindu Deities and Their Meanings," IloveUlove.com, 2002-8, http://www.iloveulove.com/spirituality/hindu/hindudeities.htm
3. The Puranas; see The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, ed Gavin Flood, Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003, p. 139; Heinrich Zimmer, Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1972, p. 124; and Eva Rudy Jansen, The Book of Hindu Imagery (1993), Havelte, Holland: Binkey Kok, 2003, p. 83.
4. See, for instance, Vishnu's depictions as Padmanabha.
Image credits: Santa Banta.


Best Regards to Medusa?

Hybrid Forms. What is a hybrid? A hybrid means something of mixed origin or composition that adds variety or complexity to a system. In science, a hybrid is the offspring of genetically dissimilar plants or animals, especially produced by breeding or grafting different varieties or species. In language, a hybrid word is one whose elements are derived from different languages. In an automobile, a hybrid combines an electric motor with a gasoline engine. Given these definitions of the word hybrid, what would it mean to make a hybrid art form? In art forms, hybridity could mean the blurring of traditional distinct boundaries between artistic media such as painting, sculpture, film, performance, architecture, and dance. It also can mean cross-breeding art-making with other disciplines, such as natural and physical science, industry, technology, literature, popular culture, or philosophy. Hybrid art forms expand the possibilities for experimentation and innovation in contemporary art. Today’s artists are free to make art with whatever material or technique they can imagine. This freedom creates new opportunities to express ideas and concepts. It also opens up a number of challenges, choices, and decisions for artists: Should I work to master a traditional art form or should I work to create innovative new art forms? Or should I do both? Should I experiment with materials that are industrial or outside the scope of my studio if those materials seem to be the best way to express my artistic goals? How can I define myself as an artist if I am shifting, combining, and recombining techniques from inside and outside the worlds of art?Blurring boundaries, breaking rules, and creating hybrids occupies much artistic work today. However, making meaning in art—whatever tools, materials, or techniques are used—remains central to artistic practice. It is important for viewers to keep this in mind as they explore innovative art today. Why is it better to have variety and complexity in art? or life? Why is it good to experiment? What is the difference between the world of art and real life? [1]

Holy Hybridity! - Patricia Piccinini was born in Sierra Leone and lives in Australia. Her work encompasses sculpture, photography, video and drawing. Her practice explores the intersection between nature and the artificial as it appears in contemporary culture and ideas. Her hybrid animals and vehicular creatures question what it means to be human, wondering at our relationships with--and responsibilities towards--that which we create.[2] Suggestive as they are, her artworks may simultaneously conjure up bestiality and feminist concerns.[3] A case in point is We Are Family (2003), a masterpiece featuring human-dog hybrids and celebrating motherhood.

Matt and Sophie Nice's Hybrid Collection Wallpaper (London, 2007) results from the use of various graphic motifs and the multiple combinations they engender.[4]

Mandee Gage's work has consists of objects made in clay and mixed media. Egglike forms are used as metaphors of blank canvases and the human form is worked through casting. Some of the pieces are reminiscent of fairy tales, but with some sinister twist. An interest in human development in relation to environment has shaped much of the work.[5] Such is the case of New Order, a piece exhibited in the UK in 2008, which at once suggests a calm Hindu divinity and a disquieting human aberration.[6]

1. "Hybrid Art Forms," Art Today, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, http://schools.walkerart.org/arttoday/index.wac?id=2355
2. "Patricia Piccinini," Brooklyn Museum Online, New York (1.11.2009). Ill. The Young Family, from We Are Family, exhibition 2003.
3. Artist's statement: "'Feminist' is not the first idea that I would choose to describe myself, however, if asked then the only answer would be 'of course' – I mean, what is the alternative? [...] I don’t really know what 'feminism' means at this point. It seems both too obvious and also not specific enough. When I think about it, I realise how lucky I am that [...] I live in a world where there are so many different feminisms and where my work can be implicitly feminist without being solely about 'women’s issues'" (ibid.).
4. "The Hybrid collection plays with the concept of wallpaper. It allows for a number of unique patterns to be created, using one or a combination of the four designs that make up the collection" (Nice). Ill. after Lux, "Hybrid Collection," Today and Tomorrow, 2.1.2007
5. Gage's website, http://www.mandeegage.co.uk/ (1.11.2009). See also Tactile. Ill. New Order (Cardiff, Tactile Bosch Studios, An-aesthetic Exhibition: Hybrid, May 2008).
6. The multiple arms and bluish appearance of the figure recall those of chief Hindu deities like Vishnu (the sustainer and protector of worlds). The Puranas (4th century CE) describe Vishnu as four-armed and having the divine color of clouds (dark-blue), while reminding us that he is "beyond the ordinary limits of human sense perception" ("Lord Vishnu," Sreeayyappaswami, 6.11.2999). A unity of opposites involving conflicting attributes and incompatible aspects (such as being destroyer and benefactor at once), Shiva is a god of ambiguity and paradox (An Introduction to Hinduism, ed. Gavin Flood, Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996, p. 150). Both gods belong to the Trimurti, a concept in Hinduism according to which the cosmic functions of creation, maintenance, and destruction are personified by the forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the maintainer or preserver, and Shiva the destroyer or transformer. These three deities form the Great Trinity of Hinduism.
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