Ana Maria Pacheco

Ana Maria Pacheco (born 1943, Brazil) is an artist of extraordinary diversity. Her work ranges from painting and sculpture to printmaking and draws on a wide variety of cultural references that include Brazilian folklore, classical myth, mystical Catholicism and medieval satire. Pacheco uses her source material to create works that play with the art of storytelling. She has developed a particular use of symbols, motifs and devices which combine to produce a distinctive and fantastic imagery.

These two etchings belong to a series of four prints inspired by Penderecki’s opera ‘The Devils of Loudon’ (based on John Whiting’s dramatisation of the book by Aldous Huxley). The title comes from a remark in the opera about the head of a criminal which a surgeon and chemist contrived to buy after the body had been cut down from the gallows. The macabre story of political corruption in France in the 1630s echoes the corruption which the artist encountered in her native country.