MAXIMILIANO LEÓN

MON *BERLIN EDITION 2019

Colonialism and its consequences, historical connections and the search for one’s own identity are the central questions in the art of Maximiliano León (born 1986, Mérida, Yucatán Mexico). Maximiliano León grew up between Mexico and Vienna, studied painting in Vienna as student of Daniel Richter and graduated in June 2019 with honors.

His mostly small-format works fall into three categories: portraits, still life and landscape painting. The still lives show symbols of pop culture and iconic objects from the Yucatán region alongside his studio in Vienna.

The play with locality is the special accent of León´s works as language occupies a prominent position in his creation. In his works Maximiliano León is often exploring the specifics of the languages and accents he grew up with: Spanish, German, Yucatec Maya dialect and Viennese dialect.

HABSBURG IN MEXICO

Within his series of portraits presented at the Museum of Now, Maximiliano León mostly depicts Mexican and Austrian historical figures, in particular Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico (1832-1867). Aside from sharing the same first name, they are also connected by their geographical histories, both oscillating between Austria and Mexico. The Archduke of Habsburg, who from his castle Miramare in Trieste, at the request of the French Emperor Napoleon III set out to take control of Mexico to become Emperor Maximilian I.

The portraits symbolize the search for one’s roots, the origin of the name and the relationship between the two countries, with which the biography of the artist is so closely connected.

Despite the distorted, almost abstract faces, the historical personality is always recognizabl in León´s portraits. Taken out of the context and put into the contemporary 21st century, the portraits transform into a contemporary comment on imperealist expansion policies, that are still present today, albeit in a different form.

 

UNTITLED SERIES

Maximiliano León

2019

MON Collection of Contemporary Art

Photo by Danilo Pasquali

UNTITLED SERIES

Maximiliano León

2019

MON Collection of Contemporary Art

Photo by Ben Gross

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