Pedro Cervantes (full name Pedro Miguel de Cervantes Salvadores; born October 2, 1933) is a Mexican sculptor who has exhibited in Mexico and abroad as well as created large monumental works for various locations in the country. Some of his work is noted for its use of used materials such as automobile parts from junkyards. Cervantes has received various recognitions for his work including Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes in 2011 as well as membership in the Academia de Artes and the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana.
Cervantes was born in Mexico City, growing up in the Colonia Roma neighborhood with eleven sisters. Since childhood, he has been fascinated by horses. His grandfather gave him a horseshoe when he was seven and since he could not have a horse, began modeling them from clay. This modeling led to drawing and an interest in art.
He attended the Escuela de Artes Plasticas from 1950 to 1952 as a non matriculated student. Just after he left school, he went to live in the Valle del Yaqui in Sonora, fascinated by the structure of saguaro cactus.
Cervantes has his first individual show called Cerámica y terracotas policomadas at the Galería Excélsior in Mexico City in 1958. Since then, he has exhibited his work in various locations in Mexico as well as abroad. Important exhibitions include the Salón de Artistas Jovenes event of the Museo de Arte Moderno in 1965, Expo 67 at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in 1967, again at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in 1974, the Sala Ollin Yolitzli in Mexico City in 1986, and the Galería Aldama in Mexico City in 2007. He has also had exhibitions in Guadalajara, Monterrey,the Modern Art Museum of Tokyo, the Museo de Bellas Artes in Caracas and the Club Oficiales de Estado Mayor Presidential.
His first public sculpture was called Prometheus, created in 1964 for the municipality of Alvarado, Veracruz . His most important and best-known works include Sol de piedra (Centro Ceremonial Otomí, Temoaya, 1980), Sinuosidad (Toluca, 1980), Trayectoria del acero (Mexico City, 1978); Los cuatro puntos cardinales (Mexico City, 1976), El águila y la serpiente (1974) . as well as Sirena y Astronauta and El hombre y la pesca.
Over his career, Cervantes’ work has garnered various recognitions. In 1968, he received the acquisition prize for a sculpture named Icarus as part of the cultural program of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes for the 1968 Summer Olympics. This piece is part of the collection of the Museo de Arte Moderno . That same year, he won second place at the Prix Auguste Rodin in Tokyo. In 1969, he received an honorable mention for a torso made of silver at the Feria de la Plata in Taxco . In 1974, art critic Raquel Tibol wrote the first book about his life and work. He is a member of the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana and in 2003, was inducted into the Academia de Artes. In 2010, a second book about him was published called El cuerpo en el espacio. Las vidas de Pedro Cervantes. He won the Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes in 2011, along with filmmaker Jorge Fons . Other awards include the Nobutaka Shikanai prize in Japan and a prize for a sculpture called Epicicloide at the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana.
Cervantes has experimented with various materials on his sculptures. He mostly works in bronze, steel plates and wrought iron, but has also worked with prefabricated materials, junk parts, mixtures of ceramics and metal, metal with mirrors and even paintings with metal pieces added.
He has created relief murals, monumental sculptures and small scale works. He has also created sculptures with parts that onlookers can move, called “llamamóvil” (call+mobile) . His mentors include sculptors Luis Ortiz Monasterio, Germán Cueto and Rodrigo Arenas . Although he identified with the interests of his generation of artists, he did not belong to a particular group such as the Salón Independiente.
He left the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas when he decided to break with academic art forms. He first worked with ceramics design, then in 1960, began to work with soldered metal. In 1966, this sculptor created the work “Space machine” for which he used industrial parts, iron and stainless steel. The two meter high sculpture proved to be a decisive force in his work, because of the new materials which he employed. This was followed in 1968, using car bumpers and other automobile parts, searching junkyards for materials. After this period he began to work in bronze, making molds from clay or plaster. With some of these, he still used old car parts, but these were often melted in with the bronze.
He worked to express senses of sexuality, enjoyment and infinite instability, according to Raquel Tibol. Elements that often appear in his work are women and horses, along with abstraction, with his work being figurative but not overly realistic. The female figures are often rotund and lack faces. “Conceptually, I start out from three elements: mind, body and emotion. Imagination, permanence and movement. Heads, torsos and wings.” His works vacillate from aesthetics related to futurism, surrealism, neo-expressionism and neo-Dadaism .
- Patricia Garcia (December 12, 2010). "El artista Pedro Cervantes presenta libro sobre su vida" [Artist Pedro Cervantes presents book about his life] (in Spanish). Mexico City: El Universal. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- Merry Mac Masters (December 12, 2011). "Un triángulo amoroso entre autor, obra y espectador, sugiere Cervantes" [A love triangle among the author, work and spectator, suggests Cervantes] (in Spanish). Mexico City: La Jorana. p. 8. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- Martha Valdespino (June 2, 1999). "Comparte su pasion por las formas" [Shares his passion for forms] (in Spanish). Mexico City: Reforma. p. 20.
- Reperatory of Artists in Mexico:Plastic and Decorative Artes. I. Mexico City: Fundación Cultural Bancomer. 1995. p. 250. ISBN 968 6258 54 X.
- Raquel Tibol (November 28, 2011). "Las voces nuevas de Pedro Cervantes" [The new voices of Pedro Cervantes] (in Spanish). Mexico City: Proceso. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- "Pedro Cervantes expone sus creaciones" [Pedro Cervantes exhibits his creations] (in Spanish). Mexico City: Reforma. September 21, 2007. p. 9.
- "Academia de Artes" [Academy of Artes] (in Spanish). Mexico: CONACULTA. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- Vicente Quirarte (April 2012). "El Cuerpo en el espacio de las vidas de Pedro Cervantes". Archipiélago. Revista Cultural de Nuestra América. 20 (76): 60–64.