Diversities of the documentary
While mexican documentary photography tradition stands firm and well represented among the new generations, it is also true that other modalities of photography have managed to establish a parallel with a sincere dialogue towards the formal and thematic interests that orient not only to mexican, but also to international artistic production. Such interest grants an unexpected flexibility to the authors selected for this sample, without undermining their reflexions on the social issues they deal with.
Two clear examples of the previous are found in the proposals of Sonia Madrigal and Pavka Segura. The proposal of Madrigal, La muerte sale por el Oriente (2015 to the date), is an active reflection on the impact of feminicide in the State of Mexico, one of the federate states with the greatest territorial extension in the country, with a strong labour and wellbeing dependence towards the megapolis whose female population’s vulnerability is increasing.
Through the coexistence with family survivors of the victims, not only with the realization of public acts in relief and its documentation, but also with the combined use of sculpture, documentary photography, and critical mapping, Madrigal disintegrates a scenery of violence by investigating it and visually giving it a new meaning.
In the case of Segura, A particular & windy day… (2015 to the date) is an exercise about recovering the memories of the Benito Juárez delegation, Ciudad de México. Enclave of middle class neighborhoods with milestones of urbanism from the mid XXth century, this area has experimented drastic changes due to the gentrification that has taken place during the last years, which has accelerated the clean water crisis and currently faces a housing crisis after the earthquakes that took place last september which affected a significant part of the housing. Segura establishes a dialogue between the documentary image, the intervened photos recovered at the flea markets of the area, and his drawings. The birds here play a visual role, they allude to a notion of home, as well as to the capacity of some of their species to adapt to changing environments, as the one in the city.
Other essays are a result of an inquiry about the material connections that certain subjects establish in a context in order to adapt to its circumstances. Inside (2011) from Ingrid Hernández is an essay that benefits from her training as a sociologist and the work she has been doing for over a decade to understand the constructive and spatial logics of the housing that different migrant communities have established in Tijuana. By travelling to New York and visiting the homes of mexican migrants, she found similar configurations that allow her to recognize a syntax in the organization of daily life objects which integrates cultural heritages, technological adaptations, and new architectures that involve other organization logics for its inhabitants.
Fragmentos by Olivia Vivanco is one of the chapters that compose her investigation on the exodus of central american migrants and from the Caribbean who cross Mexico to arrive to the United States, and has been realizing since 2013. Starting by collaborating with the shelters that are destined to help them in diverse enclaves of the Republic, Vivanco has developed a documentation that recovers testimonies of the crossing through photographic, sonorous and audiovisual and the recollection of material elements. The present selection was recovered from the transit places that the travelers go to: boxes of medicine, packages of personal hygiene products, identification documents and utensils they make themselves.
Two essays are offered as devices of struggle against oblivion. Ik’ (2015-2016) from Alejandro Resendi highlights the places in which the maya communities in the state of Yucatán are still practicing conciliation rituals with nature.What at first sight seems like a landscape series, draws attention to the narrow relationship between the ecosystem and the humans who recognize themselves as its inhabitants.
In the case of Mexe (2015 to the date), Miguel García documents the unoccupied facilities of the Escuela Normal Rural Luis Villareal in the municipality of Francisco I, Madero, State of Hidalgo. As a bastion of a magisterial education, which was both militant and committed, he was a standout because of his self-management capacity when in charge of the students and his relationship with the surrounding communities. Due to the constant frictions with the state governments, it was displaced to other facilities starting from 2003 until it was replaced by a technological university in 2008. García registers the walls of the building in dismantlement, upon which the echoing ideological conviction that would make that Normal noticeable and uncomfortable still persists.
Other type of documentary aims to look beyond prejudices and stereotypes. Annick Donkers shows us the everydayness of Morganna (2017), a transgender mexican woman who has accomplished to forge a career as an opera singer. In a country which is reluctant to recognizing those who live their sexuallity diversilly as citizens entitled to full rights, Morganna represents a milestone and an exception because transgender population is subject to labour marginalization, which in many cases constrains them to exercise prostitution as one of the few resources they have to afford their living costs.
Alejandra Aragón reveals us in Las noches invisibles (2014-2016) the crucial role that women play in the economical life of Ciudad Juárez, which significantly takes place during the night. This night life, being so stigmatized, is an essential component to understand the history of this bordered enclave. Gladys Serrano, on the other hand, decides to get to know the experiences of women in rehabilitation of drug addiction in Culiacán, a severely punished city by organized crime that built an empire in Sinaloa through drug trafficking. ¿De qué sirve una ventana que no se abre? is a project in progress that links the family history of the author with the shared confinement atmosphere by those who seek to recover from addiction and wish to reform their lives.
Finally, Sofía Ayarzagoitia offers us an example of the lyrical documentary genre in Mexico. Colgate, a recent project, is a journal about the travel through desire, the transhumance of the global idealized citizen and the transgressions to the conventions of class, race and even of languages. Ayarzagoitia makes use of image as a resource to gain distance, to put a hand brake to the marasmus produces by the encounter of the bodies, and to recognize the world again after the shudder.
Irving Domínguez, curator of the sample
October 2017, Ciudad de México.
Born in Ciudad de México. Art curator and critic. He has 12 years of career experience as curator.
He took his studies at Centro de la Imagen (Secretariat for Culture), in Teratoma, A.C. and at the Collection/Foundation JUMEX. He also took theoretical and historical studies on photography at Centro de la Imagen and the National School of Anthropology and History (INAH).
Fables without moral. The overflow of corruption in Mexico, collective of contemporary mexican art. Irving Domínguez and Víctor Palacios, curators. Casa de Lago Juan José Arreola – UNAM, Ciudad de México, october 2017 to february 2018.
Mathematical anagrams, individual from Jesús Jiménez. Centro Cultural Clavijero, Morelia, Secretariat of Culture of the State of Michoacán, 2017.
Devastated memory, doble individual from Cecilia Hurtado and Miriam Salado. Berta Kolteniuk and Irving Domínguez, curators. Celda contemporánea from the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, Ciudad de México, 2017.
XVII Biennial of Photography -Anachronism of images: Documents and recoveries. Irving Domínguez and Amanda de la Garza, curators. Centro de la Imagen – Secretariat of Culture, Ciudad de México, 2016 – 2017.
Appearances are deceiving. Explorations starting from photography in Mexico. Collective on photography and contemporary art. 18 artists from Mexico, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Cuba, France and Germany. Museo Universitario del Chopo – UNAM, Ciudad de México, 2015.
Co-author of the books:
Anagramas matemáticos, Alternativa Ediciones, México, 2017.
La sombra del fantasma, Secretaría de Cultura del Estado de Jalisco – FONCA, México, 2016.
Alberto Flores Varela. Esplendor del retrato en estudio, CONARTE, México, 2014.
His texts have been included in a wide range of publications, being the latest:
– Wojtek Ulrich – New Deal, Wroclaw Museum of Contemporary Art, 2017.
– Existe lo que tiene nombre. Contemporary photography in México, San Francisco Camerawork / The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, 2015.
Facilitator of the Contemporary Photography Program from 2011 to 2016. He has participated in the previous during his impartation in the following entities: Nuevo León (2011 – 2015), Hidalgo (2013 y 2014), Sonora (2014), Baja California (2016) and Ciudad de México (2013).
Since 2012 he is part of the group of collaborators of the international program SOMA Summer.
Since 2005 he is facilitator at Aula del Centro – Photographic Specialization, Querétaro.
Program of Stimuli to Creation and Artistic Development (PECDA), Secretariat of Culture of the State of Hidalgo.
Program of Contemporary Photography 2014, Centro de las Artes of the State of Hidalgo, CECULTAH.
Second emission of Zona_Seis (2015-2016) program of residencies for young artists with the sponsorship of the gallery Luis Adelantado Mexico.
Scholarships and Stimuli
2013-2014: Stimuli from the Program of Support for Teaching, Investigation and Art Dissemination (PADID) for the realization of the educative program ‘Tres ejes para la comprensión del arte’, in collaboration with Cesar Holm in the Centro de las Artes de San Luis Potosí Centenario.