“In the work and personality of Juan Garcia Ponce exists an adventure of the human spirit and the spirit of an era. Amidst novels, collections of short stories and books of essays on literature and art is the love and passion, enthusiasm and devotion for ideas. After all, a real person created this mighty and consistent work, a brave and enthusiastic man who in his last years fought heroically against illness.
García Ponce sensed from his early years the course of his creative destiny, which led him to write and participate generously in a literary and artistic life, in a cultural and political time whose critical and creative spirit he embodied to the fullest capacity.
From the late 1950s until the end of 1970, Juan García Ponce flourished within Mexican culture, theater, and literary criticism, writing essays and testimonies on film, and the visual arts. His virtues and talents made the young writer, born in Merida, Yucatan, in 1932, a naturally born entertainer, and a cultural activist of unquestionable exception. His grace and dedication to literature and the arts, then in full swing, led to the transformation of these movements.
Juan Garcia Ponce was fortunate to choose and be chosen from a young age by writers that would help him rise to fame: Marcel Proust, RM Rilke, Thomas Mann, Robert Musil, Henry Miller, Herman Hesse, Cesare Pavese, Herman Broch, Jorge Luis Borges, Jose Lezama Lima, Jorge Cuesta, Octavio Paz, José Bianco, Pierre Klossowski, Akutagawa among others. He would also have the good fortune to exchange with some of them, like Octavio Paz, José Bianco and Pierre Klossowski, letters and experiences that would influence and shape his own world.
Since the late seventies until his death in December 2003, Juan Garcia Ponce was increasingly devoted to the creation of his own work, his own “haunted tower.” This was just one of the titles with which he toyed with before titling his ambitious and monumental novel Crónica de la intervención in 1982. A few years later in 1984 he published De anima, in 1989 Inmaculada o los placeres de la Inocencia and in 1993 Pasado presente, among many others. These books have made Garía Ponce into a cult author and the creator of a work whose disturbing influence will be felt in the public and private imagination of Mexican and Latin American culture.
Mystery is a word that is repeated on García Ponce’s keyboard. It is a voice that refers to a religious and poetic parallel convergence: a reverence. It is the narrator’s implicit reverence to the facts, which he recounts, the reverent attention that readers pay to the adventures of the characters he puts on paper, moving the reader to keep reading.
More than an art critic, Juan Garcia Ponce was a writer of art, which led his imagination through constant reflections of the gaze. By incorporating visual arts essays in his literary work, he took after Mexican poets, such as Octavio Paz and Xavier Villaurrutia.
Despite multiple sclerosis that kept him in a wheelchair, from the mid-seventies to the nineties Juan Garcia Ponce continued to help pending works of young artists with whom he established strong bonds of friendship and whose shows he contributed to as a writer. These include Michelangelo Alamilla Leñero the Castro brothers, Diego Garcia Gallego, Ilse Gradwhol, Gabriel and Irma Palacios Macotela.”
Source :MPBA Editorial
The Mexican writer Juan García Ponce’s (1932–2003) output was prodigious and covered many areas, including fiction, poetry, art and literary criticism. He introduced to several generations of Latin American readers figures from European Modernism like Robert Musil, the painter Balthus, and his brother the novelist Pierre Klossowski, through critical appreciations, translations, and by incorporating them into his own fiction. He elevated in Latin America the status of erotic literature, a genre before him rarely practiced, or at least practiced well. This distinguished career prompted the right-of-center Mexican critic Christopher Domínguez Michael to write in his obituary that García Ponce commands an almost unique devotion among Mexican writers. “Tyrians and Trojans, intellectuals and painters of different artistic and political stripes, the holders of sharply opposed personalities: we all tend to call a truce of admiration before García Ponce” (Letras Libres, Feb 2004: 74, my translation). This fairly sums up the esteem in which García Ponce is held in most circles: in hushed reverence, and above most conflicts.