World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 17 - Xavier Yarto
Xavier Yarto is a native of Coyoacán, one of the 16 boroughs of the Federal District of Mexico City. Formerly a village with a historic center, it is now the historic center of the borough.
Coyoacán is derived from ‘place of coyotes’ in the Nahuatl language. This name was given by the Aztecs to a pre-Hispanic village on the southern shore of Lake Texcoco which was dominated by the Tepanec people.
The God Tlaloc
This pre-Hispanic past is an important component in the Works of Xavier Yarto. He focuses on abstract art and pre-Hispanic art. ‘It’s a mix between my old culture and modern art. In my artworks there is a Deity, a Ruler, a priest, a God, a Warrior, reflected in varying depth of the texture of his paintings and in a broad array of colours.’
Yarto tells us about the Mexican past. ‘There is the God Tlaloc, the God of Rain. He was one of the most important Gods. This is During the historical period before the arrival of the Spaniards on Mexican ground and the Conquista. He was an important deity for a long period of time, including the Preclásico (2500 BC – 200 AD), the Clásico (200 – 700 AD) and the Postclásico (800 – 1521).
The happiness of the Gods
Pre-Hispanic Mexico had developed into a very well organized society with a vast knowledge base. There were excellent mathematical astronomers and herbologists. It was a very rich culture. The social structure of what was called Mesoamerica was formed by diverse social groups: governors, priests, military leaders, traders, soldiers, craftsmen and farmers. There were six cultural regions. The study of its past has been an exhaustive one and full of surprises.
Next to the God of Rain, Tlaloc, there was the God of War, Huitzilopochtli, the God of Wisdom, Quetzalcoatl and more than 200 other Gods. Many natural phenomena were attributed to either the wrath or the happiness of the Gods. To keep them satisfied human sacifices were offered to them on and off.
The dog Xoloitzcuintle
They used a civil calender of 365 days, Xihuitl, and a sacred calender of 260 days from which horoscopes and unfortunate days were extracted, Tonalpohalli. Religion dominated this complex and rich society. The daily needs were met, there was food for everybody. With corn, kidney beans and guajolote (turkey) the nutrional base was complete.
The dead were buried in diverse ways, sometimes they were surrounded by bedrolls. There was a death cult, with offerings like bags of food, personal drinks, objects and often there was a mesoamerican dog called Xoloitzcuintle, a hairless dog.
‘It’s good to provide a little Mexican culture to other countries’, Xavier Yarto says. ‘Always within a modern context. I love to mix the different colours, I’ve always liked combining colours.’
He indicates La Vida as his Key Work. ‘In this case there is no pre-Hispanic motive. It is very difficult for me to part from this work. It is my most important work in terms of view, size, colour and acceptance by the general public.
Yarto has been painting more than 17 years. He has had the opportunity to show his work in solo expositions and group shows in important places in Mexico and the United States. He has been invited to exhibit in England, Italy and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands he will have a solo exposition in August 2014.
Enjoying the moment
Yarto is an autodidactic painter. ‘I have had time to improve my technique slowly. I have ruined hundreds of canvases and a lot of paper during this process. I improve every day. Being a painter is definitely a difficult profession. I knocked on many doors to show my work; many doors have been opened but many more have been closed.
Fortunately I am slowly making my way in the artworld. I paint for myself, enjoying the moment. I don’t have to look good for anyone. While I work, I don’t think about selling it or how to show it somewhere. I do it because it is my passion. If someone likes what I do, all the better.'