After a 5 month Blogging Break, it’s time to get back to the murals. And what better way to kick start my blog for 2012 than to share the largest mural in the world?
The Polyforum Siqueiros is located in Colonia Nápoles in Mexico City and houses a 500-seat Greek style round theater and two art galleries. Designed by Manuel Suárez y Suárez, it is an integrated structure that combines architecture, mural and sculpture. Suárez invited David Alfaro Siqueiros to design and construct the mural component which covers the 12-sided exterior of the building as well as the interior of the vaulted upper level, the Foro Universal.
Siqueiros began his design while he was imprisoned for political activism from 1960 to 1964. Upon his release, he assembled a team of artists to create the panels, and the mural was finally completed seven years later in 1971. It covers more than 8700 sqare meters — almost 94,000 square feet.
The Polyforum is shielded from Insurgentes Sur, a busy thoroughfare, by a wall featuring portraits of five Mexican artists who had a great influence on Siqueiros.
Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco appear on the left. On the right are José Guadalupe Posada (the political cartoonist), Leopoldo Méndez ( printmaker and founder of the Taller de Gráfica Popular) and Dr. Atl (the painter born Gerardo Murillo). Other figures recall earlier Siqueiros work such as El pueblo a la universidad, la universidad al pueblo.
The 12 panels that cover the building’s exterior blend elements of mural and sculpture to present a variety of human forms and abstract images.
The interior, the Foro Universal, is even more intense…and more difficult to understand. The mural , titled La Marcha de la Humanidad /The March of Humanity, depicts human progress over the ages through images of creation, nature, science, and politics. Painted on the walls and ceiling of the domed room, visitors are entirely surrounded by the mural. The lightining is dim (too dark for photos) which intensifies the feeling of actually being inside the mural.
I wish I could explain the meaning of this incredible work — or adequately caputre it through pictures. I’ll have to settle for sharing the Polyforum Virtual, an interactive, 360 degree journey through the march of humanity.