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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Women Pioneers Mexican Photography I at Throckmorton Fine Art

image above: ©Kati Horna.  Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art | New York City

 

The Mexican photography exhibition at Throckmorton Fine art shows works by 9 pioneering women in photography. The exhibition spans over a century with the earliest photography taken in 1924 and the latest in 2015. The exhibition runs through November 24.

After the Mexican revolution 1910-1920, the art scene was flourishing in Mexico leading to new artistic expressions that still incorporated traditional Mexican culture. This in turn made the country attractive for artists all over the world that saw Mexico as a scene for new expression and thought. For example photographers Kati Horna, Tina Modotti, Mariana Yampolsky and Colette Urbajtel all migrated to Mexico. But even though new expression and progression was made in the cultural realm in Mexico, it was still a conservative society that did not encourage women to pursue the arts.

Garduno 1image above: ©Flor Garduño, La Mujer, Mexico, 1987. Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art | New York City.

 

yampolskiimages above: left: ©Mariana Yampolsky Columna Salomonica / Salomonic Column, Sierra de Puebla.  right: ©Mariana Yampolsky, Esperando al Padreciti, 1987. Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art | New York City.

 

The photos on display all show the world these women lived in. However far apart in time, a sense of realism is the common factor for all of the artists, but each with a distinct expression.  Modotti’s early photographs have a romantic composition but are still closely intertwined to everyday life, for example her close-up photograph of a set of hands resting on a shovel. Urbajtel’s photographs feature interesting crops and show snapshots from her life such as hoofs of a horse, a part of a girl’s body or a corner of a house. Both artists invite the viewer to see a glimpse of their life through their works.

ckahloimages above: left: ©Cristina Kahlo, Dueto, Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca, 2007 right: ©Cristina Kahlo, Carnual de Huejotzingo, 2011. Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art | New York City.

 

Iturbideimages above: left: ©Graciela Iturbide Cementerio / Cemetery, Juchitán, Oaxaca  right: ©Graciela Iturbide Virgen Niña / Virgin child, Ocumichu, Michoacán. Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art | New York City.

 

Graciela Iturbide has a more dramatic perspective in her photos. She works with contrasts and shadows creating romantic but dramatic images. Lola Alvarez Bravo, often considered the first female Mexican Photographer, has a photojournalistic point of view, but with interesting compositions such as her image of three men walking in a stair. Her work consists of observations of real life but with the use of unusual angles and harsh lighting. Lourdes Almeida, Mariana Yampolsky and Flor Garduno’s close-up portraits of girls and women with minimal surroundings immediately draw the attention of the viewer. They all radiate a poetic feeling by showing women with such honesty, strength and love.

All of the almost 50 black-and-white photos of the exhibition are each breathtaking in its own. Together they create a powerful romantic but realistic image of Mexico and its people, but mostly of the women standing behind the camera and fighting conservative societal norms just by taking these photographs. They all managed to achieve more than documentation of the time they lived in but rather captured an atmosphere.

Colette5images above: ©Colette Urbajtel, Juego de Piedras, 1988, Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art | New York City.

 

lola bravoimages above: left: ©Lola Alvarez Bravo, Computer 1, 1954. right: ©Lola Alvarez Bravo, Some Climb and Others Descend, Mexico, City, 1940. Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art | New York City.

 

by Helena Calmfors

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