Objects for Chromosome Damage

Guzman Hermelinda Cover

Bound Volume of Hermelinda Linda Comics: Front Cover



This display, which coincides with our main exhibition Chromosome Damage, presents a series of objects selected and loaned by Daniel Guzmán.

These objects are indicative of the many influences on Guzmán’s latest series – including music, comics and Mexican Aztec iconography.  Many of these are unique, such as the bound volume of ‘Hermelinda Linda’ comics which Guzmán found in an old bookshop in downtown Mexico City a few years ago.  Hermelinda Linda was an adult satirical comic published in the 1970/80s in Mexico, full of dark humour, the storylines followed the adventures of the ironically named witch “Pretty Hermelinda”. Guzmán had read the series when he was younger, as his father had been a comic collector.   This volume contains an assortment of issues from #176 to #419 bound in no particular order, and features a customised cover made from cut up Hermelinda Linda covers (on the front and spine) and lingere advertisements (back).  Two of Guzmán’s favourite covers from this volume are also reproduced here – issues #176 and #195, along with a few frames from each issue.

Two other unique objects are included in the display.  The first of these is the Replica statuette of Coatlicue, an Aztec goddess, Coatlicue’s name is descriptive of her distinctive skirt of snakes.  Guzmán first saw this statuette at his friend’s house at a party, and after discussing the series of drawings he was working on at the time (Chromosome Damage) and their relationship with Aztec mythology, his friend gave him the replica as a gift.  A huge and detailed 8.9ft tall Statue of Coatlicue is displayed in the National Museum of Anthropology and History in Mexico City, an image of which is also included here.

The second Metal Sculpture of the Ollin Symbol is made up of an eye at the very centre with repeating circular shapes surrounding it, and is the symbol of the Aztec Movement. 

Guzmán is greatly influenced by music, reflected in his choice of three Vinyl records for this display.  The first of these,  Jorge Reyes, Antonio Zepeda : a la izquierda del Colibri features a narrative scene on the cover which includes two small portraits of the musicians (Reyes on the left and Zepeda on the right).  A popular progressive rock duo in the 1980s in Mexico, Guzmán is primarily interested the music of Reyes and Zepeda for their mixing of traditional Spanish instruments with electronic music.  Ek-Tunkul : Jorge Reyes, also included here, was the first record released by Jorge Reyes in 1983 and was also the first time the artist mixed traditional Spanish instruments with electronic music.

The final record included in the display is Chrome: 3rd from the Sun.  Chrome were an experimental rock/electronic band from San Francisco, popular in the 1970s and 80s.  The title of Guzmán’s series, Chromosome Damage, is taken from their 1986 song of the same title.  Guzmán bought this record on a trip to London five years ago at Rough Trade.

Finally two artists’ monographs are also included in the display.  De Kooning : The Women : Works on Paper 1947- 1954 (published by C&M Arts, New York, 1995) was a key influence on Guzmán for his series Chromosome Damage, and Guzmán has selected an image from the volume to include here. 

Dessins : Matisse (in an edition of 1000, publisher and date unknown) is a very special object, printed in an edition of 100 copies on Velin D’Arches paper, with original aqua-tints by Henri Matisse numbered 1-100, with an additional edition of 1000 copies printed on Velin Lafuma.  Guzmán found this remarkable book at a school second hand sale in Mexico City.  It had belonged to a teacher at the school who had recently died, and Guzmán bought this from the teacher’s wife who was selling items from his estate.