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Visual Culture of the Nacirema: Chagoya’s Printed Codices

This is the first thorough examination of Enrique Chagoya's codices, an ongoing body of work begun in 1992. Conceived as pseudo-historical documents, Chagoya's codices are the most intricate and sustained articulation of his core concept of "Reverse Anthropology," in which he "cannibalizes" the art and culture of Western civilization and reinterprets it in a pre-Columbian format to explore contemporary themes. The artist's ideas have been informed by the Antropofágia movement
in Brazil and his study of pre-Columbian manuscripts and post-Conquest codices. The article traces his development of the codex format in the nineties, beginning with his first unique codex in 1992 and other formative projects, followed by a sustained discussion of the editioned works of 1999-2011.