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UTSA Teuquiyaoatl(sacred portal) Installation: The Portal of Coatepec—2022

Throughout human history portals have taken many forms and the parallel realities that they connect are described at length in the myths and spiritual practices of ancient cultures of the world. Modern man’s continued fascination with portals in literature, science fiction, and scientific experiments makes them a part of our common reality. The Portal of Coatepec—2022 depicts the top of the mountain/temple where Huitzilopchtli was born from immaculate conception, battled and defeated his sister Coyolxauqui along with her brothers, The 400 Innumerable Ones.

The Portal of Coatepec(snake mountain)—2022 is an installation inspired by the portals that were created by ancient mesoamerican shamans. The array consists of sculptural figures representing cardinal sky bearer deities—Xipi Totec-east, Tezcatlipoca-north, Quetzalcoatl-west, Huitzilopochtli-south, placed on location to make a square arrangement. There are earth monster maw forms placed behind the sky bearers, at an angle, to create an infinity mirror effect showing an infinite number of sky bearers climbing up the mountain/temple. The focus of this installation is on the bridge at the location of the story rather than the ensuing battle and outcome of the story.

An act of decolonization through creation and placement is the path that The Portal of Coatepec (snake mountain)—2022 leads us to consider. The sculptures are made from the discarded styrofoam packing used to keep electronic entertainment devices and components safe from damage while being shipped thousands of miles across many borders. This styrofoam packing is engineered to keep modern communication technologies safe and thus there are specific aesthetic forms and shapes that are consistently present in order to fully protect the items. Like with the glyphs and sculptures of ancient mesoamerican cultures, there is an aesthetic language that is recognizable in this packaging yet not decipherable. After being cut up and reassembled, the new forms are encapsulated in brown shipping paper with the paper maché technique. The result is a completely new manifestation of the shipping material into a deity of cardinal status after traversing multiple borders in this reality. The negative space around these commercial modular forms becomes the empty matter that is used to create these modern manifestations of ancient gods in a new third space of existence. 

photos by LMG Photography 2022

installation exhibited at University of Texas—San Antonio Fall 2022

Artist talk footage coming soon.


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