Inner Light. Garduno is one of Mexico's most esteemed contemporary photographers, known for her interest in myth, ancient folk traditions and the supernatural. She was a darkroom assistant for the legendary Mexican modernist photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo. This exhibition is the result of the artist's ten-year project to create a series of female nudes.
Flor Garduno is one of Mexico's most esteemed contemporary photographers, known for her interest in myth, ancient folk traditions and the supernatural. She was a darkroom assistant for the legendary Mexican modernist photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo: her exquisite, black-and-white prints reveal a romantic undercurrent and a similar sensitive eye for the mystery that lies within everyday life. Earlier in her career, she traveled extensively to remote villages and documented festivals, folk tales and the timeless faces of native peoples. When she returned to studio photography, after the birth of her second child, she continued to explore the wondrous inner life of dreams and obsessions.
This exhibition is the result of the artist's ten-year project to create a series of female nudes intermixed with still life's, which she calls natures silencieuses. It includes 62 gelatin silver prints, all shot in interior settings with natural light. Average women - her daughter Azul, friends and acquaintances - served as Garduno's models and as welcome collaborators who suggested poses and props. Garduno is an inveterate collector of flea-market finds and once-beloved objects, many of which appear in this series. She often juxtaposed the nudes with flowers, plant forms and fruits, as if to comment on the essential, universal nature of fertility.
The artist considered Inner Light a process of physical self-acceptance and a down-to-earth, apolitical declaration of female beauty and sensuality. The resultant images are laden with symbolism and reverence for the timeless magic of the body. The female form, here, transcends individuality and reaches for a mythic sense of spirituality. Indeed, Garduno's friends become the actors on her surrealist stage.
Inner Light continues the honored photographic tradition of the female nude as subject, here seen from a woman's perspective and with a belief in the unity of emotional, spiritual and physical realities.
Garduno was born in 1957 and raised on a farm outside of Mexico City. She studied fine art and photography at the Antigua Academia de San Carlos and then went to work for Bravo, where she fine tuned her prodigious technical skills. From 1981-82, she was employed by the Secretary of Public Education and traveled to far-flung rural locales across Mexico to picture subjects for text books. She began to exhibit and achieve international acclaim in the 1980s. Garduno's work is now in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Bibliothe'que Nationale, Paris; Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Ludwig Museum, Cologne, among many others. She lives in Tepoztlan, Mexico and Stabio, Switzerland.
This exhibition is accompanied by Flor Garduno: Inner Light (2002, New York: Bulfinch Press), her fifth photographic book.
Organized by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C. This exhibition is sponsored in part by Fondo Nacional Para La Cultura y Las Artes and Secretaria de Relaciones Exteriores. Sponsored locally by Safari Drive, Tamar and Emil Weiss and the SMoCA Salon. Educational programs sponsored in part by Willie Joffroy.
Opening: 9 June 2006
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