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New Exhibit Opening at YAM Gallery Looks at the Darker Side of Children’s Tales

ntonio chaurand_suppenkaspar_oleo sobre tela

By Marie Moébius

Struwwelpeter: Causa y Consecuencia, a new art exhibit by Antonio Chaurand at the YAM Gallery that opens Friday, March 22, takes as its subject the surreal and sometimes grisly world of cautionary tales for children.

Born in Celaya in 1989 and a graduate from the Instituto Allende School of Art, Chaurand was a 2018 finalist for the Maco Art Fair acquisition prize. He is currently the recipient of a scholarship from the Mexican Council for the Arts.

His exhibit’s title comes from Der Struwwelpeter (Peter the Disheveled), a book of children’s tales written by German psychiatrist Heinrich Hoffman in 1845, published in English as Slovenly Peter. Each tale, written in short rhymes, depicts a situation in which young children are punished for misbehaving.

The book’s aim was to create unforgettable examples in the minds of young readers, with punishments so cruel they are absolutely terrifying to the modern reader: a little girl told not to play with her parents’ lighter is burned to ashes; a thumb-sucking boy is warned that his fingers will be cut off if he continues, and they are; another boy who doesn’t eat his soup actually dies of starvation. The book, not perceived as shocking or frightening but comical at the time of its publication, was a huge success and was translated to many foreign languages. American author Mark Twain provided the English translation. Nowadays it remains a success in bookstores.

Chaurand has read these stories to his daughter and discovered with her their moral lessons and somber descriptions. The dissonance between our idyllic vision of childhood stories and the violence inflicted on little ones in these tales can inspire both horror and a sense of farce. It is exactly this intermediate space between light and shadows, the chiaroscuro, which Chaurand has depicted in this series of artworks.

Chaurand has chosen a highly narrative way to illustrate the ten stories of Struwwelpeter: each tale is printed on paper and hung along with one painting and one lithograph. The universe he builds is so vivid that you will have the sensation of having fallen inside a page of the book. It is a bit frightening!

Do not miss this YAM Gallery exhibit, and join the artist on March 22 at 7pm for an opening cocktail and first look at his exhibit.


Art Opening

Struwwelpeter: Causa y Consecuencia

Work by Antonio Chaurand

Fri, Mar 22, 7pm

YAM Gallery

Ancha de San Antonio 20, Centro


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