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Best of March 2019 – Graciela Iturbide


With her black and white images Graciela Iturbide brings us the shadows of human existence. Traditions and their fragility, belief and religion, community and death are common themes for the artist. Within a five-decade career she has built an oeuvre that is fundamental for understanding the development of photography in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. The Fotografie Forum Frankfurt (FFF) honours this icon of Latin American photography, who was born in 1942 in Mexico-City, with her first retrospective in Germany. The exhibition has been organised by Fundaciòn MAPFRE in Madrid, and in cooperation with the FFF highlights seminal works from all creative phases of this exceptional photographer.

On view are early works such as her first major photographic project “Juchitán de las Mujeres” (The Women’s Juchitán), which was produced between 1979 and 1986. This documentation of the matriarchal community on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, made Iturbide renowned – and her characteristic picture language visible. The artist often creates images that seem to shift between the documentary and the lyrical, mirroring the diversity of life itself.

To perceive how cultural tensions between two civilizations, Iturbide focused on the Seri Indians of the Sonoran Desert and in doing so questions how indigenous culture can continue to survive within the western culture. Furthermore the FFF showcases portraits of the „White Fence“ gang members, from the 1980s in Los Angeles, intimate images made in the house of Frida Kahlo, as well as photographs of mythical gardens, landscapes and birds, which Iturbide created in her homeland and on her visual itinerary in countries such as India, Italy, Korea or Madagascar.

Graciela Iturbide grew up in a traditional Catholic family. She first studied film at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Independent National University of Mexico) and then, inspired by her mentor Manuel Álvarez Bravo discovered photography as her true vehicle for creative expression. It also helped her to cope with a personal tragedy, the death of her six-year-old daughter. Iturbide’s photographs have been exhibited all over the world and she has received multiple recognitions for her work, amongst others with the W. Eugene Smith Award, the International Grand Prize of the Museum of Photography in Hokkaido, Japan and the prestigious Hasselblad Award (2008). Graciela Iturbide lives and works in Coyoacán, the artists’ quarter of Mexico-City.

An accompanying publication is available at FFF: GRACIELA ITURBIDE. Texts by Marta Dahó, Juan Villoro and Carlos Martín García. 2018, Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid; English, 292 p., ISBN-10: 8417047700.


Graciela Iturbide

March 8th – June 30th, 2019

Fotografie Forum Frankfurt (FFF)

Braubachstraße 30–32

60311 Frankfurt, Germany

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