Teresa Serrano

MEX (1936). Lives and works in Mexico City and New York.

Quetzalcóatl, 1996
Embroidered sheets, leather, iron structure
160 x 80 x 400 cm

Quetzalcoatl is the king of the Toltecs and the god of the Aztecs and several other Latin American cultures. The feathered snake, Kukulcan, is tied to nature and to Tlaloc, the god of rain.

This double work by the Mexican artist Teresa Serrano was made as homage to Tepoztlán. Together with Xochicalco and Iztacalco, Tepoztlán forms the triangle where Quetzalcoatl—the only man adopted by Aztec mythology—was said to be born. Quetzalcoatl was transformed into a half-god, half-man deity.

The connected sculptures represent two rivers—one red and one blue—that hang independently from their iron structures. They are ambiguous and yet symbolic rivers; they reinterpret reality and are permanently alive and changing shape, never the same—rivers that run along the god-human continuum.

Quetzalcoatl, succinctly represented, exposes the juxtaposition of the materials employed: iron, a rigid and heavy industrial material, and the embroidered duvets along which the liquid sensuality of nature flows, illustrating the male/female duality.

Serrano is an artist that remains separate from dominant trends. Her main interests lie in gender and in how power is exerted to control individuals—particularly women—in ways that are sometimes obvious and violent and at other times subtle and psychological.