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  Art Advisory
From Tina Modotti to Lucia Messeguer
Artists Tina Modotti, Lucia Messeguer, Lola Alvarez Bravo, Leo Matiz
Opening Reception Thursday, February 2, 2006, 18.00-20.00
Exhibition February 3, - March 18, 2006

Mexican Life – reflected in three women

Tina Modotti, the most enigmatic photographer of the twentieth century observes the historically turbulent time of the Mexican Renaissance through the lens of her camera and follows the country's laborious steps as it moves towards the modern age. Between the illustrious Hollywood actress and communist revolutionary phases of her life there is a period of photographic creativity that lasted a mere seven years. The works originating from this time (virtually all of them unique prints) vary between still life, political portrait or photo-reportage.

The ArteF gallery is exhibiting mostly vintage photographs from the second phase of work, which was devoted more to reportage. Suggestive portraits of the Mexican population alternate with prosaic shots of landscapes and are complemented by documentation on Diego Rivera's murals.

This is the first ever opportunity in Switzerland to become acquainted with the work of a photographer who is exhibited very rarely in Europe.

Frida Kahlo, portrayed by Lola Alvarez Bravo and Leo Matiz, has, in recent decades, become a symbol of the centuries old bitter struggle of an entire country. She embodies like no other woman the tremendous will to live, even under the most difficult conditions, without making any concessions.

Although she was an established artist, with a body physically scarred following a car accident and involved in an unfulfilled love affair with Diego Rivera, the portraits on display at ArteF are neither sad nor resigned. In form they show the energy of a remarkable fighting spirit that goes way beyond the limits of the photograph. In contrast to her own pictures, the works exhibited here show Kahlo's unbridled pride and unbelievably mystical presence. An intense and powerful meeting with an artist who is world-famous for her self-critical art, is guaranteed.


Lucia Messeguer on the other hand, in her series originating from 1979, offsets the powerful works of Kahlo and Modotti. Her metaphor is that of a country between omnipotent history and personal fragility in today's Mexican community.

With photographs taken in two cloisters, her simple group of works evokes the charged tension between the isolated individual and what is, for far too many, the brutal social reality of this Moloch of a Mexico. Through her photographic lens, Lucia Messeguer combines the intensity of a Sugimoto with the vacuum of a Tarkovsky. A poetic influence can be felt in these buildings, which express the vulnerability of personal integrity in Mexico's melting pot of a society. Images between dream and reality, human sentimentality and walls steeped in history.