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Francisco Toledo (Mexico) bio

Posted by Mark Schneider on February 29, 2012 0 Comments

FRANCISCO TOLEDO(Born in 1940 into a family of shoemakers and pig-butchers)

Toledo spent only a short time in Juchitán on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec before moving with his family to the states of Veracruz and Chiapas. The young Toledo studied printmaking in Mexico City and had his first solo exhibition at the age of 19 in Fort Worth, Texas. After living for some years in Paris, he decided in 1965 to return to the Isthmus region of Oaxaca. Intent of recovering his native Zapotec ethnicity, Toledo has since devoted much of his energy to social projects. Thanks to him, cultural centers in Juchitán and Oaxaca City host exhibitions and house important collections of graphics, photographs and books. As a member of the pressure group Pro-Oax, Toledo has fought tirelessly to protect the architecture and ecology of his state.

Predictably, Toledo's art is deeply rooted in the history and enduring presence of Mexico's native cultures. Often he takes as his subject the fauna of the Americas. But Toledo's work is always idiosyncratic and highly charged. In the words of Carlos Monsiváis, essayist and friend, Toledo is "animistic, rational, ferociously sexual, enamored of the abstractions of nature, capable of staggering brusqueness and timid tenderness..."


Toledo's bestiaries and insectarios of grasshoppers, turtles, toads, rabbits and coyotes are frequently hybridized with human genitals. In one painting a woman is lost in a shoal of phallic fish; in several drawings the reclining body and elevated legs of the grasshopper resemble a mating couple. These visual comparisons, erotic and ironically playful, suggest the surrealist influence of Max Ernst; but they also reveal what Toledo has called "a taste for the paradoxical and fantastic that has existed in Mexico since pre-Hispanic times". Because his work deals with mythology and metamorphoses, Toledo has often been likened to a shaman. Fascinated by shamanistic practices and sympathetic magic, his imagery retains great ritual power and intensity.


The artist employs a vast range of methods to construct his images. Toledo's love of texture has often led him to work with amate. Still used in the Puebla highlands for ceremonial purposes by the Otomi, amate paper is made from pounded tree-bark fibers. Other non-art materials favored by Toledo include pistachio shells and jacaranda seeds, wax and sand. The result is an artisan quality which undermines the boundaries between 'high' culture and indigenous 'craft'. Indeed the archaic surface of some sand-enriched paintings reminds the viewer of early cave paintings.


Toledo presents himself to us in a rare and revealing interview filmed to coincide with the exhibition at the Whitechapel. In this video, Mexican film-maker Rafael Ortega and art-historian Cuauhtémoc Medina evoke Toledo's homeland and show him at work. Squatting on the ground, in his habitual white cotton clothing, he creates a stenciled image using a color wash. Toledo's work -- as Dawn Ades notes in the excellent exhibition catalogue -- reflects the tension between order and chaos, control and chance.


It is this process that the Mexican poet Verónica Volkow describes so well: "At some point the process ends although it could continue. With Toledo, the act of painting turns into a ritual of unending creation and destruction: he paints and removes paint, draws and buries the drawing; he works on successive palimpsests; to erase is to reveal the color that has been devoured. Untiringly he pulls out his magic figures, as a magician pulls objects from a hat, a sleeve, a foot -- from anywhere. His work is the creation and reproduction of infinity."


Francisco Toledo – bio

2011
Francisco Toledo - Cuento del conejo y el coyote - Centro Cultural Borges, Buenos Aires

2010
Francisco Toledo: Papalotes - Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex (England)
Mexico’s Toledo - Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH

2009
Francisco Toledo - MAMBO - Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá, Bogota

2008
Francisco Toledo - Galería Patricia Ready, Santiago

2007
El Maestro Francisco Toledo: Art from Oaxaca, 1959 – 2006 - Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, NJ
El Maestro Francisco Toledo: Art from Oaxaca, 1959 - 2006 - Stanlee & Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts, El Paso, TX

2005
Francisco Toledo - Grafica Reciente - Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Ateneo de Yucatan - MACAY, Mérida
Los pajaros - Serie de grabados de Francisco Toledo - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey MARCO, Monterrey, NL

2004
Francisco Toledo - Recent Paintings - Latin American Masters, Beverly Hills, CA
Los cuadernos de la mierda; de Francisco Toledo - Museo de las Artes Universidad de Guadalajara, Guadalajara
Francisco Toledo - Recent Graphic Works - Latin American Masters, Beverly Hills, CA

2003
Francisco Toledo - Obra Gráfica - Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo
Francisco Toledo - Cuento del Conejo y el Coyote - Museo de Arte de Zapopan, Zapopan

2002
Exposición de Francisco Toledo - Obra Gráfica para Arvil - 1974-2001 - MAVI - Museo de Artes Visuales, Santiago
Francisco Toledo - Bizancio. Sombra del Deseo. Sueños de Durero. - La Caja Negra, Madrid

2000
Francisco Toledo - Molaa Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA
Fancisco Toledo - Drawings and litographs - Galleri Bo Bjerggaard, Copenhagen
Francisco Toledo - Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía MNCARS, Madrid
Francisco Toledo - Recent Graphic Works - Latin American Masters, Beverly Hills, CA

1997
Francisco Toledo - Master Printmaker - Latin American Masters, Beverly Hills, CA

1991
Francisco Toledo - Recent Paintings - Latin American Masters, Beverly Hills, CA

1990
Francisco Toledo - Recent Paintings - Latin American Masters, Beverly Hills, CA

1989
Francisco Toledo - Paintings and Printmaking - Latin American Masters, Beverly Hills, CA
Group shows   36

2010
Vanguardia en papel. Figura y abstracción - Museo Nacional de Arte - MUNAL, Mexico City

2009
Ruth Asawa and Artes Latinos - Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2007
7. Internationale Foto-Triennale - Identität / Identitätskonstruktion / Heimat - Internationale Foto-Triennale Esslingen am Neckar, Esslingen
hining Spirit: Westheimer Family Collection - Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City, OK
Arte y Cuerpo - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey MARCO, Monterrey, NL
La era de la discrepancia - MUCA Roma - Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte, Mexico City

2006
Tamayo, Toledo, Morales, Santiago, Alvarado - Aldo Castillo Gallery, Chicago, IL
Galería "Juan Martín" - Precencias - Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Ateneo de Yucatan - MACAY, Mérida

2005
An Exhibition of Mexican Masters and Contemporary Artists - Castel Gallery - College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, NY
Mexican Moderns - Ernst Museum Budapest, Budapest
Still Life Perspectives from the Collection - AMA Art Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC
Colección Femsa - una mirada continental - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey MARCO, Monterrey, NL
Arte Del Siglo XX - Colección Internacional Del Museo Rufino Tamayo, México - Fundación PROA, Buenos Aires
Latin American Invitational 2005 - ArtSpace - Virginia Miller Galleries, Coral Gables (Miami), FL
Eco - Arte contemporaneo mexicano - Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía MNCARS, Madrid

2004
Multiculturalism - Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2003
Varios Artístas - Tiempo, Barro y Piedra - Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Ateneo de Yucatan - MACAY, Mérida
Group Show: Gallery Artists & Pre-Columbian Ceramics - Latin American Masters, Beverly Hills, CA
Mexican Modernism - Latin American Masters, Beverly Hills, CA
Holiday Highlights - Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Siglo XX - Grandes Maestros Mexicanos - Los espacios inconformes - Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Monterrey MARCO, Monterrey, NL

2002
Affinities - Francisco Toledo, James Ensor, José Guadalupe Posada - USC Fisher Museum - University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA

2001
LATIN FLAVORS - Tobey C. Moss Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

2000
Erógena - SMAK Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gent
Viva la Vida: Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism - Wellington City Gallery, Wellington

1999
Arte Mexicano - Fundación PROA, Buenos Aires
Mexican Works on Paper from the Museum's Collection - Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ

1998
Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Twentieth-Century Mexican Art - Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ

1997
47th International Art Exhibition Venice Biennale / Biennale di Venezia - La Biennale di Venezia, Venice

1996
Bilder und Visionen - Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Dusseldorf  

1995
Imaxes e Visions - CGAC - Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela

1994
Ante América. Actualidad latinoamericana - MADC Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San José

1987
Imagen de México. Der Beitrag Mexikos zur Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts / Mexico's Contribution to Twentieth- Century Art - Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt/Main

1974
Latin American Prints from the Museum of Modern Art - The Americas Society Art Gallery, New York City, NY

1972
Looking South: Latin American Art in New York Collections - The Americas Society Art Gallery, New York City, NY

1970
Young Mexicans - The Americas Society Art Gallery, New York City, NY
Museum Collections
Colombia
Museo de Arte del Banco de la República - Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogota
Mexico
Museo de Arte Moderno de Mexico City, Mexico City
Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo - MUAC, Mexico City
Museo Tamayo, Mexico City
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, Oaxaca
Netherlands
Museums Vledder, Vledder
Spain
Fundación Eduardo Capa, Alicante
USA
Molaa Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

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