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Friday, 23 Aug 2019

FLOR GARDUÑO, Mexico

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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 States, France, 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.

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