Signatures de livres

Juan Brenner 
Editorial RM
Barcelona, 2019
In his first photobook, Juan Brenner maps Aztec mythology onto the legacy of colonialism and indigeneity in Guatemala. Taking as its title the name of the Aztec sun god for whom the country’s central Spanish conquistador was originally mistaken, Tonatiuh thoughtfully investigates segregation and miscegenation in its visualization of modern Guatemalan identity. Images are traditionally presented––one per spread, without captions––but surprising and fresh in their narrative sequencing. Brenner confidently juxtaposes historical objects, rural landscapes, and contemporary portraits; a leitmotif of gold-clad teeth serves as a productive touchstone for these kaleidoscopic images. Interspersed throughout is text that is “evocative, succinct, and informative, but not didactic,” says Drew Sawyer. The book closes with Brenner’s personal reflections on the images’ relationships to specific moments of Spanish conquest, while the work as a whole seems to celebrate a new moment of both historical contemplation and autonomous self-representation.