Last updateFri, 22 Apr 2016 9am

French-Mexican sculptor showing at Cabañas is a ‘find’

It’s always a pleasure to visit Guadalajara’s Instituto Cultural Cabañas, whether you’re outside taking in the eerily whimsical bronze “chairs” of the renowned Alejandro Colunga, or inside, soaking in the architecture or laying on benches in the chapel and gazing at the crown jewel of the place, the Mexican-Muralist-era frescoes of the luminary Jose Clemente Orozco.

However, a big bonus of a visit to the Cabañas at the moment is a chance to see the large, carbon-steel-plate sculptures of Paul Nevin, a French-born artist who has been adopted by Mexico as a native son.

Stumbling on Nevin is something of a “find,” according to Francisco Quiroz, art promoter and owner of Art21 Studio and bronze foundry, who, although he has not been involved in the production of Nevin’s work, praises him as a sculptor of integrity.

“He originally came from France to Guadalajara, married Pilar Bordes, one of the greatest etching artists in Mexico, and after maybe 25 years in a studio here, moved to Mexico City.

“Now he’s coming back to Guadalajara. It’s like he’s paying a debt, and also saying ‘You see — I knew what I was doing!’”

Quiroz explained that at the start of Nevin’s career, “Mexico was not ready for his plastic language. Here we tend to go for a baroque style. But his style was always minimalist and abstract — more a European style.

“Now he’s a mature artist. His work has changed, but it has evolved on a steady, logical path, not jumping from one plastic language to another, in order to sell. He’s not very commercial. He’s quiet, but not an underground type. He’s just a normal person who doesn’t like to show off in the media a lot.”

Perhaps even the title of the show — “La Puerta Falsa” (the false door) — reflects this honesty, as it seems to sum up Nevin’s avoidance of conventional success.

Nevin has done sculpture in a respectable number of well-known locations, including in front of Guadalajara’s Cámara de Comercio (chamber of commerce) at Avenidas Vallarta and Niño Obrero. The Cabañas show consists of over 100 pieces and even includes some etchings and watercolors, which are said to reflect Nevin’s penchant for bringing drawing into the production of his sculpture. 

“La puerta falsa” (The false door) shows until June 22. Instituto Cultural Cabañas is a 10-minute walk east of Teatro Degollado through Plaza Tapatía. Tickets to enter cost 70 pesos; 45 pesos if you show a Mexican Visa ID; 20 pesos for students and teachers, children under 12 and for seniors (with ID). Free admission each Tuesday. Open Tuesday to Sunday 10–6. (33) 3668-1645, 3818-2800, www.hospiciocabanas.jalisco.gob.mx

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