Mexican Fotoescultura (Photo Sculpture)
Maker Unknown. Fotoescultura, wood carving with hand painted photograph, c.1950. 11 3/4" h x 11 1/4" w x 3"
In Mexico, in the 1930s, the three-dimensional effigy and the memorial photograph melded into the potent form known as a fotoescultura - literally, "photos sculpture". Artisans began carving three-dimensional wooden cutouts based on a studio photograph (usually procured by a traveling salesman). After carving and painting the wooden bust and adhering the photograph to it, the artisan would add hand-tinting and embellishments such as jewelry and costuming to create a startling likeness. As photography historian Geoffrey Batchen observes, "while the photograph usually speaks to us of the past..fotosculturas speaks of eternal life...the fully dimensioned presence of the present."
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