ALMA ALLEN NUNCA SOLO
FEBRUARY 9 – MAY 28, 2023
A fervent believer in myths and a myth-maker himself, Diego Rivera was a force that sculpted this temple as a model of the Universe. A “house for his idols”, where the secrets of time could be left undisturbed. As far as Diego was concerned, his family was mankind, and in this perfect microcosm the creations of the spirit of our past would float and explain the nature of man as a social entity. A place for collectivity, where the borders between men and different disciplines would dissolve. Diego believed that through art he could change the world for the better.
Out of his extensive Pre-Columbian collection, the figurines from Colima or “the ceramic of the West” always accompanied him to a place within his home or studio. Charged with an energy both ritualsymbolic and aesthetic, these pieces —warriors, fantastic creatures or semi-human beings with zoomorphic features —have the power to become representations of daily life or portals to other worlds through the naive and sensitive gaze of an artist like Diego. Today, they continue to be a source of speculation and inspiration for those that are familiar with them. The Goddess Coatlicue at the center of the Pan American Unity mural in California —half beast, half machine —is an example of the influence that the hybrid forms in these pieces had on Diego’s work. The Anahuacalli is also a synthesis of two seemingly disparate entities that collide into one. The result is a supernatural, symbolic and metaphysical piece: a pyramid and a machine; a mountain and a cave.
These pieces from Colima were also at the heart of the International Surrealist Exhibition of 1940. Now, they act as the starting point for the exploration and configuration of the large-scale work that Alma Allen presents in this exhibition. A new series of bronzes —and one stone—made especially for the Anahuacalli constitute the new mythological pantheon that Alma has created: 26 new amulets, new friends, new offerings, new monsters for this labyrinth.
Alma, who has been the most frequent visitor that the Anahuacalli has had in recent years, pays special attention to the clues that O’Gorman and Rivera left in the building. He unfolds time to observe what the rest of us sometimes miss, taking notes on the organic nature of the material in the space, on some secret hidden in the mosaics. It seems he has wandered the three planes that make up the Anahuacalli —the underworld, the earthly world and the overworld —so extensively that he has entered into a trance, another form of reality, in which he weaves webs that connect to a more symbolic and more spiritual world.
Alma leaves the role of “the foreigner” behind to become the hermit who has journeyed from afar to decipher what this volcanic desert has in store for him. The Anahuacalli, landscape and object, sometimes functions like a shape-shifting vessel that carries you to the depths of a petrified ocean, tossing and dragging you on a non-linear journey. While this is happening and your heart is pounding in the darkness, you become yourself —and you end up being more you than the you that arrived at the start. The Alma of Nunca Solo is not the same one that arrived in Mexico. Here, Allen had no option but to abandon various certainties and allow himself to be vulnerable. Alma discovered that the only key to surviving the immensity of the human experience, to overcoming the insignificance of our existence, is company. Which is why today we welcome all his friends, his little creatures: Isa, the cat, the moth, and all the friends that these friends bring with them.