encounter with TAROT was a fortuitous one. A deck of cards together
with a book landed in my hands at the same time, they opened a world
of symbolism and tradition which overwhelmed me.
I am a skeptic by nature, and until that moment TAROT was for me nothing
more than superstition. Although to this date I maintain a certain
intellectual distance from divination, I have come closer through
these last two years of work to this sort of intuitive knowledge which
I had not fully appreciated before.
Through that first reading and many ensuing ones which were slowly
added, I learned that the 22 Major Arcana of Tarot symbolize a universal
order. Each card is the representation of different primordial force,
which has guided the direction of human actions since the beginning
of time. Thus the derived belief that in shuffling the cards the person
doing so imbues these with their own destiny. In presenting the cards,
the cardreader interprets them based on the relationship that they
all have to each other and to the fact that they are either face up
or face down, which alters the meaning of their interpretation.
Aside from this aspect of divination, what fascinates me is the symbolic
character of the Arcana, a set of symbols which have been fed by various
traditions both cultural and religious. Each Arcana is an archetypical
personality which serves to represent diverse attributes which are
tangible and easy to understand. Thus, for example, the notion of
introspection, receptivity, faith, and the contact with the occult
are represented by the High Priestess, or modesty, wisdom, capacity
for analysis and the search for truth, in the Hermit.
Although these symbols are current ones, one could think that these
personalities have aged historically and can hardly be identified
with the present. However, in going about in a city like Mexico City
one can come to the conclusion that this is not the case. If one observes
carefully one will identify the face of The Empress, Justice, The
High Priest, even the Devil or The Death.
This is what led me to create the Mexican Tarot, a project
which is based on the equivalents, on occasions charged with irony
and humor, between the traditional major Arcana and the personalities
of Mexico City.
The majority of the individuals in the Mexican Tarot are common
people off the street. More than photographing their individual characteristics,
the images try to emphasize the generic, and in doing so, convert
these into new interpretations of the traditional archetypes.
The search for the models and appropriate locations to represent the
various concepts, made the production of each image an experience
charged with anecdotes which enriched me, and I feel, did so to the
The Tarot of Marseilles, a medieval version, was the source that served
me as a reference due to it's purity and style, and because it is
after all the oldest set of cards that is conserved intact. The transformation
of this reference into a contemporary Mexican Tarot, suggest
to the spectator the possibility to see themselves as a destiny that
does not escape from the universal order which was set thousands of
José Raúl Pérez