Monday, January 19, 2015

Restituto Rodríguez and an Excerpt from The Museum on the Parque Juárez

Really, I am at work on my Far West Texas book (I don't plan to interrupt it again as I did to write Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution), but well, actually, I am at work on a novel, if at a glacial pace. It's a comedy of manners set in an imaginary town with some features (such as the Parque Juárez) that might sound like San Miguel de Allende... or Antigua... or someplace west of Peru in an alternative universe overgrown with ferns. 

Anyway, I am delighted to announce that my amiga the Mexican writer Araceli Ardón has brought out a gorgeous anthology of artworks by surrealist painter Restituto Rodriguéz paired with original works, apropos of those artworks, by Mexican writers including Araceli Ardón, Agustín Cadena, Mónica Lavín, Silvia Molina, Pedro Angel Palou... and Yours Truly, with an excerpt from the novel-in-progress. 

(Restituto Rodríguez, Surrealista was published by the State of Querétaro, Fondo Editorial Querétaro, Código Áureo, Valverde Internacional, and the City of San Juan del Río, Querétaro. ISBN 978-607-96622-0-2).


Restituto Rodríguez, Surrealista
Edited by Araceli Ardón
Showing "El Prestigio," 2005
and the text of C.M. Mayo's
"Excerpt from the novel The Museum on the Parque Juárez"

Excerpt from the novel The Museum on the Parque Juárez

By C.M. Mayo
Pam Havelotte, accompanied by her advisor, Don Teddy, had been drinking café and rejecting pinturas all morning. Her Museum on the Parque Juárez had been filled but for one wall, this trumpet-blast of a wall, that needed a painting, one very special one... for it would be the first encountered by visitors arriving from the north gallery, that is to say, those agog from Liliana Cartwright’s early oeuvre, including the very significant sculptures, Jirafa IV and Jitomate VII. 
And now, upon the easel: the Restituto Rodríguez.
Teddy stirred another lump of sugar into Mrs. Havelotte’s café. He went on in his pudding-smooth and peppered-with-Spanish way, while she, silently sipping, wondered: What did the artist mean by that priest, looking left, so full of the dread of Judgement Day? The reptile perched on his head—such tiny claws, buckteeth! The umbrella, the helicopters, the waif-like figure on a chair on a pillar... Whatever Don Teddy said, that it was evocativa, rather than narrativa, that it deconstructed something... multifaceted, geometría de composición... She had long ago learned to settle into the woollen-walled comfiness of her own intuitions as easily as if she’d twisted a dial behind her earring, for Don Teddy was so wise. If he’d told her to live in a tent in Antarctica, she would have asked him, what equipment should she buy?
Pam Havelotte handed her cup and saucer to a gloved hand that seemed to disappear as surreptitiously as it had appeared. Still considering the painting, one arm akimbo, she took a step back. Then she crossed her arms. “Yes!” 
Teddy shot out his bottom lip. Mrs. Havelotte was going to find out, but he was not going to be the one to tell her, that the padre in this picture was the very doppelgänger of Teriasu’s first husband, Alfonzo, who had disappeared one fine morning to be turned up by her detectives, three years later, half naked and bald, in an ashram in Idaho. And whether it was or it wasn’t, he realized now, with a cold twinge in his stomach, Teriasu was going to conclude that the figure in that chair was herself. It was Teriasu who had sold her family’s 17th century stables so that her classmate from Sacred Heart, Pamelita, as she called Mrs. Havelotte, could elbow her museum onto the Parque Juárez. Why had Teriasu done that? It was a puzzling thought, like that little green lizard, and as he walked off into the Parque Juárez, arm-in-arm with Mrs Havelotte, Teddy had the sense that rain, somehow, was about to fall from the blue sky, and that that creature had lept out of its two dimensions and perched itself on his head. All through lunch, he kept patting the top of his head.

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Here is my translation of the text on the back of the book:

Restituto Rodríguez was born in 1931 in an old house in the Historic Center of San Juan del Río, Querétaro. He studied accounting and worked in various governmental agencies until his retirement, at which time he took a road of no return, dedicating himself body and soul to painting, a jealous lover that had bewitched him since childhood.
The two genres of his work have been portraits and surrealism, the language of which he uses with great fluency. In his youth, he imbibed the works of masters in this genre such as Remedios Varo, Leonora Carrington, Salvador Dalí and René Magritte. In time he worked out his own style; today, his work, an audacious proposal, is completely derived from his personal experience, nurtured by the events of eight decades  in which he has lived with his eyes open and soul unveiled.
This book contains a  selection of his works together with the valuable contribution of 20 outstanding writers, offering poetry and short fiction from the United States, Hungary, Spain, Panama and various parts of Mexico, all inspired by the fantastic images created by Restituto Rodríguez.