Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Codex Espangliensis: From Columbus to the Border Patrol

Rate this book
Inspired by the pre-Hispanic codices that escaped immolation during colonial invasions, this artists' book opens out in accordion folds expanding to a length of over 21 feet. Rice has created a series of beautiful and jarring montages in which the mixture of languages, slang, poetry, and prose of Gómez-Peña's performance texts are woven through and around Chagoya's collages filled with pre-Hispanic drawings, colonial-era representations of New World natives, and comic book superheroes. Irreverent to the last, Gómez-Peña and Chagoya employ iconic figures and persistent stereotypes to overturn the fantasies of nationalism, ethnocentrism, and historical amnesia that cloud international relations. Rice's masterful typographic compositions orchestrate the text's many voices and views, offering a history of the Americas which must be read forward and backward, in fragments and in recurring episodes―in short, as history itself tends to unfold.

45 pages, Hardcover

Published January 1, 2001

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Guillermo Gómez-Peña

26 books19 followers

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
36 (46%)
4 stars
32 (41%)
3 stars
8 (10%)
2 stars
0 (0%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
1 review1 follower
October 20, 2021
This book is a work of Art, I hope it stays out of print because it should be treated as such. I just got mine for under $50.00, I've been looking for months and I finally got my own copy. To the moon. Art that matters
Profile Image for Lily.
963 reviews39 followers
April 29, 2017
Oscillating between playful and cynical, this unusually formatted book exhibits collage art and prose (occasionally in Spanish) playing around with alternate histories and common narratives about Mexican immigrants and artist expatriates living in the United States and Chicano culture.
Profile Image for Frederic.
1,032 reviews18 followers
February 20, 2017
A great example of book-as-object, with its fold-out codex-inspired format, but also a work of artistic commentary on Latin American history and colonialism.
Profile Image for Jessica.
31 reviews
May 8, 2009
Codex Espangliensis is an inventive art and poetry book that critiques colonial history and the effects of both it and capitalism on present day Latinos and Mexican Americans (to name a few). Physically structured like ancient codices, this accordion book, designed by Felicia Rice, unfolds to reveal artful woodblock inspired illustrations and vintage ephemera collage by renowned visual artist Enrique Chagoya. The text by Guillermo Gomez-Pena performs throughout as both muse and indictment. The cadenced sentences sometimes slip back and forth between Spanish and English and are especially provacative for anyone with a general knowledge of both languages:
"Que western utopia ni que la chingada (with french accent)Chingada-da-da, da-da les infants de la chingada you and I, pollito, right here, bien "mean", los vatos relamidos in front of all these turistas monolingues in a museum of natural history as supposed to one of contemporary art. Que vida loca! my crazy life! La Vida en llama, my life in flames, placaza de la memoria, untranslatable pain..."
Chagoya and Gomez-Pena weave a visual poem that teeters on the threshold of agitation and uncertainty. I highly recommend this book for all trans-national border dwellers and any parched gringos who are ready to drink the bitter swill of ancestral history. I also recommend it to everyone else. Its a lovely book.
Profile Image for Brigette.
82 reviews
February 4, 2008
An artist's book, a political commentary, a post-colonial history weaving together fabulous collages and sharp, irreverent text. Patterned on pre-Columbian codices, the book opens from right to left in an accordian fold that stretches out 21 feet...in other words, it's a little unwieldy but worth it.
Profile Image for Isa.
171 reviews41 followers
July 3, 2016
this is an astonishing, beautiful work. my response to it was visceral, completely physically palpable - i literally yelled aloud during portions of it (the colonization of europzin and the auctioning of the new world, to be more particular). fantastic, fantastic, send it to your friends, force it upon everyone you know
Profile Image for Dawn Mackey.
90 reviews5 followers
September 16, 2007
One of my favorite books of all time! Anything by Guillermo Gomez-Pena is worth reading. Enrique Chagoya is an awesome artist. My only complaint is the text is so small that I have to put the book up to my face to read it.
Profile Image for Haley.
26 reviews4 followers
April 9, 2008
This can be a hard one to come by, but it is amazing, amazing amazing. NAFTA, pre-columbian/mexican art (and politics), colonialism, satire, and/or collage- if any of these words spark your interest check this one out.
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.