2016年6月3日 星期五

Manuel Álvarez Bravo. A Photographer on the Watch (1902-2002) ; trompe-l’œil effects

Out There
Revisiting the Mastery of Mexican Photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Often cited as Mexico's most celebrated fine art photographer, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, whose life almost spanned the entire 20th century, relentlessly...

Behold the magic of trompe l’œil.

Behold, the magic of trompe l’œil.

trompe l'oeil

Pronunciation: /trɒmp ˈlɔɪ/  
Pronunciation: /tʀɔ̃p lœj/ 

NOUN (plural trompe l'oeils pronounced same)

1Visual illusion in art, especially as used to trick the eye into perceiving a painted detail as a three-dimensional object:look at the pillars and arches around the immense dome—they are trompe l'œilhis love of classical trompe l'œil is sometimes a little precious[AS MODIFIER]: trompe l'œil architectural detailstrompe l'œil marble
1.1[COUNT NOUN] A painting or design intended to create a visual illusion:she climbed up to paint a trompe l'œil over the brackets as camouflage


French, literally 'deceives the eye'.

Revisiting the Mastery of Mexican Photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo

© Colette Urbajtel / Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C.
On Ways of Sleeping, c. 1940
Click here to find out more!
Often cited as Mexico’s most celebrated fine art photographer, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, whose life almost spanned the entire 20th century, relentlessly captured the history of the country’s evolving social and geopolitical atmosphere. A Photographer on the Watch, a new show organized by the Jeu de Paume in Paris, features previously unpublished and unseen images from the master alongside Álvarez Bravo’s most recognizable images, such as The Daughter of the Dancers (slide 6) and The Crouched Ones (slide 9). Together, they bring new attention and reconsideration of the work of the photographer—who died in 2002—whose prolific output has not only been thoroughly scrutinized by critics, but also published in more than a hundred books and exhibited internationally (The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles staged a major retrospective in 2001).
After the Mexican Revolution that began in 1910, Álvarez Bravo’s career emerged during a creative renaissance that was a reaction to the resulting paradigm shift in the political environment. Alongside the major uprisings against then-Mexican president, Porfirio Díaz, brought forth by political revolutionaries, such as Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa, significant artists including Diego Rivera also came to prominence. Álvarez Bravo’s work, which evolved during this period, addressed what curators Laura Gonzáles Flores and Gerardo Mosquera identify as the country’s “gradual abandonment of rural life and traditional customs, the rise of a post-revolutionary culture with international influences, and the espousal of a modern culture related to the urban maelstrom.”
Perhaps the most noticeable part of Álvarez Bravo’s career is his breadth of approaches, coursing through modernism (like Edward Weston, his personal friend) with formalist photographs of abstract paper forms, before moving on to address recognizable motifs. People, things and objects—for example, a sheep fallen down against a sidewalk curb—are shown in real habitats, but captured in a perspective which elevate the purpose and meaning of the photograph, beyond that of pure documentation (like Eugène Atget).
Although considered to be a part of the Surrealist movement, Alvarez Bravo’s images aren’t exclusively Surrealist in its denotative meaning; his lens captured the uncanny and mythic qualities of things that tangibly existed, such as an optical store plastered with eye illustrations, as seen on Optical Parable (slide 10), that evoke the work of pure Surrealists.
Álvarez Bravo’s career is one which can be easily seen as a story of tireless work— full of laborious attempts and devout experimentation—leading to iconic masterpieces. As Gerardo Mosquera states in an essay inside the exhibition’s catalog: “while [Henri] Cartier-Bresson seized the “decisive moment,” Álvarez Bravo laid a trap for “decisive moments”—a statement which both captures not only Álvarez Bravo’s dedication to his practice, but his ability to compose and very purposefully create photographs saturated with poetic complexity.
Manuel Álvarez Bravo: A Photographer on the Watch is on view from Oct. 16 through Jan. 20 at Jeu de Paume in Paris. See more info here. 更多照片

Manuel Álvarez Bravo. A Photographer on the Watch (1902-2002)
du 16 octobre 2012 au 20 janvier 2013
Getting away from the stereotypes about exotic Surrealism and the folkloric vision of Mexican culture, this exhibition of work by Manuel Álvarez Bravo at Jeu de Paume offers a boldly contemporary view of this Mexican photographer.

The photographic work done by Manuel Álvarez Bravo (Mexico City, 1902-2002) over his eight decades of activity represent an essential contribution to Mexican culture in the 20th century. His strange and fascinating images have often been seen as the product of an exotic imagination or an eccentric version of the Surrealist avant-garde. This exhibition will go beyond such readings. While not denying the links with Surrealism and the clichés relating to Mexican culture, the selection of 150 photographs is designed to bring out a specific set of iconographic themes running through Álvarez Bravo’s practice: reflections and trompe-l’œil effects in the big city; prone bodies reduced to simple masses; volumes of fabric affording glimpses of bodies; minimalist, geometrically harmonious settings; ambiguous objects, etc.
The exhibition thus takes a fresh look at the work, without reducing it to a set of emblematic images and the stereotyped interpretations that go with them. This approach brings out little-known aspects of his art that turn out to be remarkably topical and immediate. Images become symbols, words turn into images, objects act as signs and reflections become objects: these recurring phenomena are like visual syllables repeated all through his œuvre, from the late 1920s to the early 1980s. They give his images a structure and intentional quality that goes well beyond the fortuitous encounter with the raw magical realism of the Mexican scene. Indeed, Álvarez Bravo’s work constitutes an autonomous and coherent poetic discourse in its own right, one that he patiently built up over the years. For it is indeed time that bestows unity on the imaginary fabric of Álvarez Bravo’s photographs. Behind these disturbing and poetic images, which are like hieroglyphs, there is a cinematic intention which explains their formal quality and also their sequential nature. Arguably, Álvarez Bravo’s photographs could be viewed as images from a film. The exhibition explores this hypothesis by juxtaposing some of his most famous pictures with short experimental films made in the 1960s, taken from the family archives. The show also features some late, highly cinematic images, and a selection of colour prints and Polaroids. By revealing the photographer’s experiments, this presentation shows how the poetic quality of Álvarez Bravo’s images is grounded in a constant concern with modernity and language. Subject to semantic ambiguity, but underpinned by a strong visual syntax, his photography is a unique synthesis of Mexican localism and the modernist project, and shows how modernism was a multifaceted phenomenon, constructed around a plurality of visions, poetics and cultural backgrounds, and not built on one central practice.

Laura González Flores and Gerardo Mosquera

Exhibition coproduced by Jeu de Paume, Paris
with the collaboration of the Fundación Televisa, México
and the help of the Instituto Cultural de México
and of the Institut français d’Amérique Latine, Mexico.

In partnership with A Nous, De l'air, LCI, Stiletto, Fip.
Acknowledgement to La Maison de l'Amérique Latine, Paris.
Document PDF téléchargeable > PetitJournal_AlvarezBravo_GB

Ondas de papel (Vagues de papier)
vers 1928
Manuel Álvarez Bravo
Épreuve gélatino-argentique tardive.
Collection Colette Urbajtel /
Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, s.c.
© Colette Urbajtel /
Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, s.c.