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12 July 2011

Graciela Iturbide in Arles

Graciela Iturbide is one of the most outstanding Mexican photographers on the contemporary world scene. Over a four-decade career she has built an oeuvre that is intense and deeply singular, fundamental for understanding the development of photography in Mexico and the rest of Latin America. Her contribution and talent have been recognised with the recent granting (2008) of the Hasselblad Award, the world’s highest distinction in photography. Renowned for her portraits of the Seri Indians, who inhabit the desert region of Sonora, for her vision of the women of Juchitán (on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca), and for her fascinating essay on the birds that she has spent so many years photographing, Graciela Iturbide’s visual itinerary has spanned such contrasting countries as Spain, United States, India, Italy and Madagascar in addition to her native Mexico. Her curiosity about the different forms of cultural diversity have turned travel into a work dynamic through which she expresses her artistic need: ‘to photograph as a pretext for getting to know’, as she herself puts it. Midway between the documentary and the poetic, her unusual way of looking through the lens integrates what has been experienced and what has been dreamed in a complex web of historical, social and cultural references. The fragility of ancestral traditions and their difficult survival, the interaction between nature and culture, the importance of ritual in everyday body language and the symbolic dimension of landscapes and randomly found objects are paramount to her richly productive career. Her work is characterised by an ongoing dialogue among images, times and symbols, in a poetic display in which dream, ritual, religion, travel and community all blend together. The exhibition presents one of the most comprehensive anthologies of her career to date.


Marta Dahó, commissaire de l’exposition.


Exhibition venue : Espace Van Gogh, Rencontres d’Arles 2011.