Indepth Arts News: |
"TINA MODOTTI: The Mexican Renaissance"
2000-09-12 until 2000-11-05
Helsinki City Art Museum, Tennis Palace
The exhibition will focus on the period from 1923 to 1930
when Modotti lived in Mexico, and will therefore continue the Art Museum's series on the art and culture of Mexico. Tina Modotti (1896-1942) was a factory worker, bohemian beauty of the jazz era, silent-screen actress, artists' model,
muse for both Edward Weston and Diego Rivera, devoted communist, revolutionary and first-generation modernist
photographer. Her wide and cosmopolitan circle of friends included Frida Kahlo, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Julio Antonio
Mella, Pablo Neruda and Sergey Eisenstein.
Tina Modotti's career as a photographer began in Mexico in the 1920s. This was the time of the Mexican Renaissance,
when artists explored Mexico's Indian cultures and traditions in search of an authentic and original Mexican identity.
Modotti's photographs of peasants and workers demonstrate a deep sensibility that is complemented by their simple
materials and clear form. She was a member of the Communist Party and her photos were published in Mexican left-wing
magazines such as El Machete and Mexican Folkways and also in international left-wing and Avant-Garde magazines.
In 1930 Modotti's life took a dramatic turn when she was expelled from Mexico on false pretences. In the 1930s she lived
in Germany and the Soviet Union, was a spy in France and fought in the Spanish Civil War. Although she stopped
photographing in 1931 to dedicate her time and efforts to the Communist movement and politics, her images continued to
be published in, for example, the Soviet press. Despite her rather brief career, Modotti is considered one of the principal
early modernist photographers. To the legendary photographer Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Tina Modotti was an idol.