Flor Garduno, The Lightning ( El Rayo ), Santa, Bolivia, Photo Platinum Print, 6.5" x 9", Andrew Smith Gallery
Flor Garduño, Mexican (1957 - )
Flor Garduño is renowned as one of the most outstandingrepresentatives of Latin American photography. Linked to a tradition ofphotopoets (an outstanding pupil of Manuel Alvarez Bravo), she focuses on theMexican popular lifestyle, packed with an artistic sensitivy that has carriedher beyond her country to be transformed into one of the most salient exponentsof contemporary photography.
Beyond doubt, Flor Garduño’s photography is autobiographicallyingrained. She becomes a model of herself and what the observer lastly sees areextensions of her own self. “It is my own artistic quest, a search of thedifferent persons that exist in my dreams” she said. She has the gift to showin her pictures how life reveals itself and faces her. And part of that life isthe native American culture in which myth and rituals stay alive.
Flor Garduño was born in 1957 in Mexico City. When she was five years old, sheand her family moved to a country home in Mexico’s rural interior. Thisis where she spent her childhood and adolescence, surrounded by nature andanimals. When she was 19 years old, she entered the Old San Carlos Academy to study visualarts and also took part in the photography workshop of the Hungarianphotographer Kati Hornal. In 1979 she started working as darkroom assistant at ManuelAlvarez Bravo’s workshop, from then on consolidating and reinforcing hervocation in photography.
She worked during 1981 and 1982 for her country’s Secretariatof Public Education. Her position required that she travel around Mexico’s ruralareas. As Flor had to visit remote spots and photograph people, her picturesthen were used to illustrate school books. She saw so much, recorded so manyfaces, skins, and situations, that she was captivated by the depth and thedimension of the culture that was facing her lens. All this turned into hersource of inspiration to enliven her individual exhibition at the Jose ClementeOrosco Galley of Mexico City and to inauguratethe following year (1983) the exhibition Four from Mexico, at the MexicanMuseum of San Francisco.
In 1985, her first book Magia del Juego Eterno, Magic ofthe Eternal Game took account of six years of work. Afterwards thesepictures were displayed in the Mexican Gallery of Contemporary Arta andthe Paris Photo Month of 1986. This was Flor’s leap into international fame,;it also enabled her issueing a new book in Switzerland, Bestiarium (1987).Three years later, the Mexican government awarded her a scholarship to furtherher artistic development.
1990 was the next starting point for the continuous advance ofher career. In 1992 she published Witnesses of Time, a book that wastranslated into five other languages and reedited several times. The pictureswere displayed in the most important galleries and museums of Germany, the United States, France,Mexico and Switzerland,where the Federal Office of Culture also granted her the Swiss Art Award. Hernext book Mesteños (1994) contained photographs of horses and nativeamericans, which won the prize of the Mexican Council of Culture and the Arts thatunderpinned her incessant thematic development focused on the essence of theLatin American people.
The artworks of Flor Garduño (married, two children) are partof such important collections as the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA),the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Library of Paris, and the LouisMuseum of Cologne.
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