Art@Site Helen Escobedo Coatl, Serpent Mexico

Helen Escobedo


Coatl, Serpent

Unam Sculpture Space
Different in every stage.
Coatl is a snake. A snake is an interesting animal. He looses his skin and makes fastly new again. Some people say that the snake has eternal life. Would we like to live forever? Are we given with a long life? Could the climate crisis be contained in time? How long do we have left to live?
Let us experience this together and climb into Coatl. Let's start at the yellow side. We are at the bottom of the frame which is tilting further and further. And is changing color, from yellow to orange, red, aubergine, purple.
I image that each of our life stage is represented by a different color. Yellow fits with interest, openness and experimentation. Red suits with strength, focus and experience. Purple matches with maturity, overview and wisdom. The squares lay flat and are easy accessible. The squares are also at an angle so we are instable at our feets.
Hopefully the debate around the climate crisis proceeds in a similar way: from interested, to powerful, to speaking and acting in wisdom.
By Theo,

Anders in elke fase.
Coatl is een slang. Een slang is een interessant dier. Hij verliest zijn huid en maakt dit razendsnel weer aan. Sommigen zeggen dat de slang eeuwig leeft. Zouden wij eeuwig willen leven? Zou het ons gegeven zijn nog lang te leven? Zou de klimaatcrisis op tijd bedwongen zijn? Hoe lang hebben wij nog te leven?
Laten wij dit samen ervaren en in de Coatl klimmen. Laten wij beginnen bij het gele uiteinde. We staan onderin het frame dat steeds verder kantelt. En van kleur verschiet; van geel naar oranje, rood, aubergine en paars.
Ik stel mij voor dat elk onze levensfase gesymboliseerd wordt door een andere kleur. Geel past bij interesse, openheid, experimenteren. Rood past bij kracht, focus en ervaring. Paars past bij rijpheid, overzicht en wijsheid. De vierkanten staan vlak en zijn makkelijk beloopbaar. De vierkanten staan ook onder een hoek zodat wij wankel op onze benen staan.
Hopelijk doorloopt de discussie over de klimaatcrisis op een vergelijkbare manier: van geïnteresseerd, naar krachtig, naar in wijsheid spreken en handelen.
Door Theo,
Despite achieving considerable commercial success with her bronzes, in this period Escobedo adopted modern materials such as PVC and fibreglass, helping her to avoid the solidity of traditional sculpture. Crucially, she also became interested in installations and site-specific art.
The 15-metre-long Coatl (1980), at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Unam), was constructed from steel girders and painted in reds, oranges and yellows. By this time Escobedo had begun to make temporary sculptures for settings that ranged from museums to public parks. Some of these were inspired by natural forms '' rows of bamboo, trees or cacti '' while Total Environment (1977), at the gallery of Hartnell college in Salinas, California, consisted of sheets of stretched white muslin casting an eerie, diffuse light.
The site-specific character of her art was boosted by the preparations for the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. For "route of friendship" along the ring road close to the Olympic village, Escobedo constructed Gateway to the Wind, an abstract concrete structure, 17 metres high, animated by stripes of colour and bold contrasts of light and shade.
This immense piece was followed by Signals (1971), an ambitious project in Auckland harbour made up of ladder-like forms that sway suggestively in the wind. Escobedo also produced more intimate work for a number of buildings in Mexico City including, in 1970, the interior of a law office, in which a strong sensation of space was created by a series of lacquered screens. Her own house and studio (1969) also had a free, open design, dispensing with normal distinctions between doors and windows. Its walls blended perfectly with the colour and texture of the volcanic surroundings, illustrating Escobedo's perennial aim of integrating art with its environment.
Escobedo was an excellent draftswoman and her utopian projects and installations manifested in drawings and collages that often introduced a subversive object as a critical and humorous commentary on the urban space. Drawing was her medium of choice to develop ideas for ambitious projects. In those sketches she conceived complex images, indispensable to understand her work''particularly her intention to subvert established artistic practices, her will for experimentation''and her interest in processes, rather than in finished objects.
The Mexican artist Helen Escobedo, who has died of cancer aged 76, had a profound feeling for the genius loci of the sites where she set up her spectacular, sometimes ephemeral, sculptures. Whether evoking the pastoral qualities of the English countryside or the masts and cranes of Auckland harbour in New Zealand, Escobedo responded to her environment by creating memorably light, transparent structures. Along with an international profile, she was an important cultural figure in Mexico, where she curated leading museums.> Helen Escobedo. Mexican Sculptor, 1934 - 2010, Mexico City, Mexico.
Daughter of an English mother and Mexican father, Helen Escobedo studied at the Royal College of Art in London from 1951 to 1954. From 1961 to 1979 she was the director of the Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Artes (MUCA), and the Galerà­a Universitaria Aristos at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). As part of Mexico City's preparation for the 1968 Olympic Games, she created a sixteen-metre concrete sculpture called Puertas al Viento [Gateway to the Wind] as part of a series of sculptures along the 'Route of Friendship' near the Olympic village. She participated in the Independent Salons (MUCA), creating Pasaje Blanco [White passage, 1969] for the second edition of the Salon and Ambiente gráfico [Graphic environment, 1970] for the third edition. Two of her exhibitions from the 1970s, Dynamic Walls and Total Environments, were captured by Alfredo Gurrola in his short film Helen Escobedo. She participated in the sculpture project at the Reserva Ecológica del Pedregal at Ciudad Universitaria, collaborating with other artists to create Espacio escultórico, a sculptural space at UNAM in 1979, and also working individually with the penetrable monumental sculpture Cóatl [Snake, 1980].
Hel"Elena" Escobedo (July 28, 1934 '' September 16, 2010) was a Mexican sculptor and installation artist who has had work displayed all over the world from Mexico, Latin America, the United States, and Canada to the United Kingdom, (Germany), as well Israel and New Zealand.
Her career as an artist spanned more than fifty years and explores ecological and urban problems through land art. Her works are site-oriented and ephemeral.
Escobedo was born on July 28, 1934 to a Mexican lawyer father and an English mother in Mexico City. She was educated in her home in a small neighborhood setting with her younger brother Miguel, taught by a French governess until the age of ten. At a young age, she learned ballet until she outgrew it. She was taught violin by Sander Roth, who at the time was a member of the world-famous Lener Quartet. Even though she became proficient with her violin skills, Escobedo eventually decided to switch to art.
Aside from sculpture, Escobedo was a talented painter, printmaker, installati artist, writer, performance artist, lecturer, curator, and museum director in her lifetime.
Escobedo accepted the position be the head and served as director of the Museo de Arte Moderno and the Department of Museums and Galleries at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) in 1960, where she worked until 1978, organizing exhibitions. As she worked as director, she continued her craft and completed commissions as well as exhibitions of her own work. She would go on to serve as the Director of the Museum of Modern art between 1982 and 1984. From 1985 to 1989, she worked as an art curator of the Museum of the UNAM, specializing in international exhibitions. Having left her directorial role in art administration, Escobedo decided to concentrate on her own work.