Curator, James Oles
In partnership with the Fundación Televisa, Mexico.
This exhibition presents 83 photographs by Lola Álvarez Bravo (1903-1993), one of the most renowned Mexican photographers from the first half of the 20th century.
She married Manuel Álvarez Bravo in 1928, keeping her name in spite of their separation in 1934, followed by their divorce.
Her professional career was mainly devoted to documentary work, notably for several Mexican government agencies, at a time when few women were considered eligible for such an independent position.
She was also a great portraitist, and developed a rich body of very personal photographs between 1920 and 1980.
Although hundreds of her first photos were inspired by the strict formalism of Weston and Modotti, as well as by her husband’s both poetic and removed approach, her most famous works focus on rural populations and reiterate the nationalist realism and indigenismo of her closest friends in the world of art, Diego Rivera included.
The prints were produced under the watchful eye of Lola Álvarez Bravo to complete her own collection, at the time when the artist’s first major retrospective was held at the Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico in 1992. Like many photographers, she accumulated a substantial archive of old and new prints over time, as well as thousands of negatives (now held at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson).
The exhibition presents a selection of photographs from the Televisa Foundation collection, arranged thematically, accompanied by short texts taken from interviews, or written specifically by the curator for the event.
This is the first major presentation of Lola Álvarez Bravo’s work in France.
Book published by RM, Mexico (text by James Oles) and a publication by the Maison de l’Amérique latine (text by Gabriel Bauret).
James Oles is an art historian, an expert in 20th century Mexican art, architecture and photography, the author most notably of a study on the cultural relationships between the United States and Mexico South of the Border: Mexico in the American Imagination, 1914-1947 (Smithsonian Institution Press) and Art and Architecture in Mexico (Thames and Hudson). He is an expert on Lola Álvarez Bravo and recently published Lola Alvarez Bravo and the Photography of an Era (Estudio Diego Rivera/Editorial RM, Mexico, 2012).