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Death (#13)

La Muerte (Death) #13 designed by Gustavo Pérez Monzón

'La Muerte' (Death), is card #13 of the Tarot de Ángel (1986) piece by Gustavo Pérez Monzón. Originally handcrafted in 1985, these types of cards were outlawed by the Cuban government as a symbol of the occult. The death card within a tarot deck typically implies the end of a relationship or interest if drawn in the upright. When drawn upside down, this card can represent a new beginning.
 Angel Card 13 800 Complete
La Muerte (Death) #13, (original design), Gustavo Pérez Monzón
Profound transformation. Death and rebirth. A change of direction.


Tarot -The practice of tarot emerged in Italy around the 15th century as a form of entertainment, which later spread to much of Europe. The Major Arcana are 22 individual numbered cards, each one represented by a character or symbol, such as Fool, Death, and the Wheel of Fortune, among others. Before the emergence of the printing press, tarot cards were illustrated by hand, being commissioned by artists as if they were pictorial or sculptural work. This tradition has continued throughout history, and more recently, we have seen recreations of tarot designs made by artists such as Salvador Dalí, Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, among other artists who have been attracted to the deep mysticism around the subject and the visual impact of tarot cards.

Tarot de Ángel is a piece created in 1986, commissioned by the then Spanish art gallery owner Ángel Romero. This tarot was acquired by Ella Fontanals-Cisneros from its original owner, who kept it for almost thirty years. Each card gives the sensation of a carved volumetric element as if they were sculptural reliefs. The surface of the card displays the number of the arcanum it belongs to and a visual representation of it. Concentric geometric figures abound, whether squares within squares or triangles within triangles, spirals, or circles. The Angel tarot pieces have a direct visual relationship with other contemporary pieces by the artist in larger formats. 

Gustavo Pérez Monzón is one of the most important Cuban artists of his generation, mostly known for introducing Conceptual Art to his native Cuba. He first emerged in the early 1980s as part of a generation of artists loosely known as Volumen Uno, whose exhibition at Centro de Arte Internacional (1981) is considered a watershed in the history of Cuban art. Drawing influence from conceptualism and minimalism, Pérez Monzón has honed a unique sensibility toward organic materials and geometrical forms. He is recognized predominantly for his vast works on paper of dots and lines made from mixed media; large-scale line drawings carved from aluminum powder and pigment, and immersive installations of wire, stone, and thread. 

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