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Mujeres Mexicana
Mexican Women Photographers
From the Collection of the Southeast Museum of Photography


February 28 – May 25, 2014
Exhibition Opening Reception: Friday, February 28, 6:00-8:00 pm

modotti
Woman with Flag, 1928, by Tina Modotti, Platinum Print.
 

“My project is to see Mexico City from a very personal point of view, to envision it as if I were making a visual diary, with my comments about politics, womanhood, machismo, religion, traditions, sexual mores, social attitudes, the imagination of the common person, high art and popular culture. It is not only the city of my daily life, the one I live in as a woman and as a professional photographer, but also the city of my imagination..." -Yolanda Andrade


ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

This exhibition presents photographs by six of the most prominent female photographers associated with Mexico. These women are distinguished by their unique styles and their commitment to subjects of continuing relevance in Mexico. Other than Tina Modotti, who was born in Italy, and Kathy Vargas, an American of Mexican heritage, the other four women were born in Mexico. The nineteen images selected for the exhibition are only a portion of the Museum’s holdings of Mexican women photographers and most have previously been exhibited at the Museum.


ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Tina Modotti’s early platinum photographs were still-lifes, floral studies and finely composed architectural spaces. By 1927, when she joined the Communist Party, Modotti photographed bullfights, circuses and political events and started to incorporate more overt social content in her images of women, workers and indigenous peoples.

Lola Álvarez Bravo is the most prominent of the first generation of Mexican women photographers and the first to follow Modotti’s lead as a freelancer. Bravo is credited with being an honest observer, empathetically training her lens on people from all walks of life. During the latter half of the twentieth century, Bravo was in great demand as a portrait photographer, and her images of the elite and cultural avant-garde comprise some of her strongest work. Establishing herself as a professional did not come easy. Early in her career Bravo stated, “I was the only woman that ran around the streets with a camera, at sports events and the Independence parades, and all the reporters made fun of me. That’s how I got tough.”




Yolanda Andrade's photographs capture what she describes as "Mexican passion": the vitality of the people who use Mexico City's bustling central square as a point of daily contact for revelry, ritual, and protest. In her pictures of cultural traditions such as the annual Day of the Dead celebration, mythical figures from ancient Aztec folklore intermingle with 16th century Spanish Christian influences, comprising the vibrant and unique culture that still exists.

“My project is to see Mexico City from a very personal point of view, to envision it as if I were making a visual diary, with my comments about politics, womanhood, machismo, religion, traditions, sexual mores, social attitudes, the imagination of the common person, high art and popular culture. It is not only the city of my daily life, the one I live in as a woman and as a professional photographer, but also the city of my imagination, the protagonists of works of fiction, the scenery where different stories happen at the same time. As a girl I was interested in the movies and the theater. I had the opportunity to see a traveling children’s theater; they performed a repertoire of popular Spanish works in a tent. They set up a tent and every afternoon or evening they put on a different play. That influenced me as a child, the visuals of staging. So did cinema, and comic books. They all fed me, movie editing, the way a play is structured, and the way images in comics are put together.” Yolanda Andrade, Artist Statement.


Andrade
Nueva Revelación (New Revelation), by Yolanda Andrade,
Gelatin Silver Print.


While others are striving to build a record of material and social reality of the city, Yolanda takes the opposite approach: she elaborates an argument of the city as imaginary construction. Her images are more sensory and subjective. Rather than contrasting the people, cars, and urban elements with the unstable background of the city, Andrade constructs an image out of juxtaposition: all of the image’s elements appear to be brought together in one imaginary dance, in which the viewer feels included. With her photographs, Yolanda Andrade seems to bring us into the image of the city.” --Laura González Flores, National University of Mexico. Translated by Ted O’Callahan

Since the beginning of the 1990’s Lourdes Almeida has worked with mythological and symbolic forms and with more experimental techniques in color to examine the many roles, guises and personae of women.

This piece, “Broken Column: Mother” is part of a larger installation called “State of Grace: Angels for the Living/Prayers for the Dead”. Both are about my mother’s passing away . I wanted to commemorate her and talk about the pain she had undergone in her last months, but also about her spirit and will to live, and our attachment to each other. Photography and I were made for each other. I was raised Catholic, and the Catholicism of my pre-ecumenical childhood was full of death, mysticism, mystery, and resurrection – good partners for photography’s alchemy…There were the very real memories of my childhood: how my grandmother had introduced me to death. These memories impact the experience of the present: beloved friends dying of AIDS. I felt the need to express not only the topical, the solid and actual, but also the 'quicksilver', non-solid moments which could not be made completely concrete but were more memory, dream and myth. I realized that my culture was about both types of moments." Kathy Vargas, Artist Statement.


Graciela Iturbide’s photographs of indigenous cultures in remote regions of Mexico blur the boundaries between photojournalism, poetic sensibility, and magic. Iturbide’s images have been called “anchored fictions and elusive documents.” Many of her subjects, while modern, also practice a fusion of pre-Columbian and Christian religious customs and rituals. Her photographs follow her personal journey through her homeland to tell the story of a culture in constant transition using photography to also reveal the “humbleness and grace of human gesture.”




Click HERE for the artist's biographies.

Photographs are Platinum Prints, Gelatin Silver Prints and Hand-Colored Gelatin Silver Prints.


EXHIBITION FILM SERIES: CLASSICS OF MEXICAN CINEMA
Select Thursdays @ 7:00 pm, starting January 30

EXHIBITION FILM SERIES: CONTEMPORARY MEXICAN CINEMA
Select Fridays @ 1:30 pm, starting January 31


Andrade 9.5 Andrade 9.7

Dos Tiempos (Two Times), by Yolanda Andrade,
Gelatin Silver Print.
El Teatro de le Muerte (The Theater of Death), by Yolanda Andrade,
Gelatin Silver Print.

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Exhibitions and programs at the Southeast Museum of Photography are supported in part by Daytona State College, Volusia ECHO and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on the Arts.

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