Flor Garduño, Mexican (1957 - )
Flor Garduño is renowned as one of the most outstanding
representatives of Latin American photography. Linked to a tradition of
photopoets (an outstanding pupil of Manuel Alvarez Bravo), she focuses on the
Mexican popular lifestyle, packed with an artistic sensitivy that has carried
her beyond her country to be transformed into one of the most salient exponents
of contemporary photography.
Beyond doubt, Flor Garduño’s photography is autobiographically
ingrained. She becomes a model of herself and what the observer lastly sees are
extensions of her own self. “It is my own artistic quest, a search of the
different persons that exist in my dreams” she said. She has the gift to show
in her pictures how life reveals itself and faces her. And part of that life is
the 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, she
and her family moved to a country home in Mexico’s rural interior. This
is where she spent her childhood and adolescence, surrounded by nature and
animals. When she was 19 years old, she entered the Old San Carlos
Academy to study visual
arts and also took part in the photography workshop of the Hungarian
photographer Kati Hornal. In 1979 she started working as darkroom assistant at Manuel
Alvarez Bravo’s workshop, from then on consolidating and reinforcing her
vocation in photography.
She worked during 1981 and 1982 for her country’s Secretariat
of Public Education. Her position required that she travel around Mexico’s rural
areas. As Flor had to visit remote spots and photograph people, her pictures
then were used to illustrate school books. She saw so much, recorded so many
faces, skins, and situations, that she was captivated by the depth and the
dimension of the culture that was facing her lens. All this turned into her
source of inspiration to enliven her individual exhibition at the Jose Clemente
Orosco Galley of Mexico City and to inaugurate
the following year (1983) the exhibition Four from Mexico, at the Mexican
Museum of San Francisco.
In 1985, her first book Magia del Juego Eterno, Magic of
the Eternal Game took account of six years of work. Afterwards these
pictures were displayed in the Mexican Gallery of Contemporary Arta and
the 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 further
her artistic development.
1990 was the next starting point for the continuous advance of
her career. In 1992 she published Witnesses of Time, a book that was
translated into five other languages and reedited several times. The pictures
were displayed in the most important galleries and museums of Germany, the United
Mexico and Switzerland,
where the Federal Office of Culture also granted her the Swiss Art Award. Her
next book Mesteños (1994) contained photographs of horses and native
americans, which won the prize of the Mexican Council of Culture and the Arts that
underpinned her incessant thematic development focused on the essence of the
Latin American people.
The artworks of Flor Garduño (married, two children) are part
of such important collections as the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA),
the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Library of Paris, and the Louis
Museum of Cologne.