Enrique Chagoya
Untitled (After Yves St. Laurent), 2016
etching with acrylic
17.25 x 33.5 inches (paper size 22.5 x 39.5 inches)
edition of 12

The muted palette and soft, matte surface of Enrique Chagoya’s 2016 editions Untitled (After Edward Curtis) and Untitled (After Yves Saint-Laurent) give the impression of visions unearthed from the depths of the subconscious, or hand-tinted antique photographs from a mysterious bygone era. In fact, both compositions originated as panels in Enrique Chagoya’s 2015 daguerreotype-as-codex edition Caníbales Daguerrotípicos, where Chagoya collided the pre-Columbian folding book format with the glossy, silver-grained look of 19th-century daguerreotypes to summon a surreal tableau of Modernist icons confronted in unexpected ways by the pre-Columbian and African cultures whose art and architecture they so often imitated and appropriated. Through the lens of Chagoya’s “reverse Modernism,” the historical relationship between Western art traditions and the “noble savage” is inverted and its unique absurdities are exposed; Picasso’s paintings mimicking African masks are the most well-known example of this problematic and one-sided cultural exchange. In Untitled (After Yves Saint-Laurent) Chagoya also references the dialogue between fine art and fashion and the intersection of the sacred and the commercial by inviting Aboriginal masks to disrupt and subvert a 1960s advertisement for Piet Mondrian-themed Pop Art dresses by Yves Saint Laurent. -Nick Stone