Galería Rafa

GRACIELA ITURBIDE

The exhibition that we now present, titled “Portraits. Situations. Places”, is Graciela Iturbide’s second exhibition at Galería Rafael Ortiz. It brings us a unique world of images that combine the documentary with the landscape. Images that are always endowed with a powerful sense of poetry.

Graciela Iturbide (Mexico, 1942) is currently one of the most significant figures in the international art scene and an indisputable reference for several generations of photographers. Her work is characterized by images that show great simplicity, where portraying means participating in people’s lives, as well as in their rhythm, warmth and traditions.

Photography is the exercise to which she has dedicated her life, after marrying a liberal man with whom she could flee from a conservative family that would have denied her access to university. Life put her in the path of Manuel Álvarez Bravo and shortly thereafter she became his assistant. From the master of Mexican photography she learned, above all, to wait: to look for that decisive moment when any story worth telling becomes frozen in time; from the craft, just a few recommendations to correctly follow the instructions on the Kodak film.

A very young Graciela would experience the death of her six-year-old daughter. The artist’s life was then transformed into a mourning that pushed her to undertake long journeys to share the ways of living of the communities she later immortalized, surely not to avoid the presence of death that the irrevocable absence of a daughter provokes, but quite the opposite.
One of her best known series, ‘The Women of Juchitán’ , shows the work that she did during her stay with the Zapotec community in southern Mexico, where animal sacrifices and the celebration of life run on the same plane of reality, almost indistinguishable from each other. In Juchitán, she knew how to distill the powerful feminine and radical presence of women in a patriarchal Mexico, an approach to reality that shows archaic uses and customs from a contemporary vision, where death and life once again intermingle.

Graciela Iturbide is the photographer of astonishment in the everyday, as she likes to define herself. She flees from the exotic, from the representation of poverty for its own sake. Her images tell stories of life and death with the knowledge of those who live with both, with a respect for what is portrayed that goes beyond what can be seen in each of her photographs. Her sole purpose is to tell stories and portray the dignity of people, embracing the wonder in everyday life. Her relationship with the still life in the portraits of gardens and the use of portrait as an experience to approach people, objects, the feminine world, indigenous cultural boundaries and the rituals of celebration and death constitute the different landscapes, always in black and white, captured by her camera.

Iturbide was awarded the prestigious Hasselblad prize in 2008. Her work is now fully recognized after a long and intense career awarded with prizes, recognitions and exhibitions in museum and institutions. She has exhibited individually at the Center Pompidou (1982), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1990), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (1997), the Paul Getty Museum (2007), Fundación MAPFRE (2009), the Photomuseum Winterthur (2009) and the Barbican Art Gallery (2012), among others. Iturbide has received the award from the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Foundation, 1987; the Grand Prize Mois de la Photo, Paris, 1988; the Guggenheim Fellowship for the project ‘Fiesta y Muerte’, 1988; the Hugo Erfurth Award, Leverkusen, Germany, 1989; the International Grand Prize, Hokkaido, Japan, 1990; the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie Award, Arles, 1991; the Hasselblad Award, 2008; the National Prize for Sciences and Arts, Mexico City, 2008; the Doctor Honoris Causa recognition by the Columbia College in Chicago in 2008; the Doctor Honors Causa recognition by the San Francisco Art Institute in 2009 and from the Tate Modern in London in 2015.

Whenever she is asked about her work, she always states that “photography is a pretext to knowing”, understanding knowing as a synonym of living, of being in the world: of existing.

The exhibition will be open until November 26, 2022.

Hours: Mon-Fri: 10.00 – 13.30 / 18.00 – 21.00 h.
S: 10.00 – 13.30 h.