The Emperor (#4)
El Emperador (The Emperor) #4 designed by Gustavo Pérez Monzón
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, 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 a 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 Norka’ is a piece created by Gustavo Pérez Monzón in 1986. As its name indicates, this tarot was created for a woman named Norka Korda, who was then a romantic partner of Gustavo Pérez Monzón. Norka kept the work in her personal possession for many years, until Ella Fontanals-Cisneros acquired it for her collection. The back of each card in this collection contains Norka’s handwritten text of her personal interpretation of each letter.
This tarot differs from the others by Gustavo Pérez Monzón in its use of written text. Words and letters not only accompany the images in a descriptive fashion, but they have also been arranged in such a way that they form geometric designs, schemes, diagrams, spirals, and crosses, pointing in opposite directions, and creating waterfall formations. Astrological symbols are also frequent in this tarot, which indicates planetary interactions associated with the meaning of each arcanum itself.
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 towards 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.
Pérez Monzón's work has been shown at:2015 Tramas (Frames) Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes de La Habana, Cuba2015 Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation (CIFO) in Miami, Florida, USA2018 Rosa de Cancio Richard Saltoun Gallery London, England2018 WEFTS Museum of Contemporary Art, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, and more.
Limited edition set of NFTs by Gustavo Pérez Monzón coming soon