Modotti's photographic production started around 1924
and ended in the early thirties. Her journey began in
1921, when she linked up with photographer Edward
Weston. They moved together to Mexico City, he to
pursue his aesthetic and photographic research, she to
adopt the role of apprentice and assistant.
quickly mastered the medium and developped a very
personal style, both formally and technically. Weston's
influence was undeniable and Mexican avant-garde
artists also helped to shape her artistic vision.
Modotti's early work was in the style of pure
photography and precisionism of the American avant-
garde. She perfected the specificity of the photographic
rendering: geometrical, elementary, abstract compositions;
extremely precise focus ; play of texture, shadows, and
light; familiar objects isolated and placed in new
perspectives. In 1924-1925 Modotti became interested in
flowers and created a fascinating body or work issuing
from an interior, paradisiacal world, Calla Lillies, Roses,
Geranium, Flor de manito. During the same period, swept
up in the same photographic intensity, she produced
Interior of Church, Arch, Sugar canes, Doors and Staircases in
which she experimented with shot angles, detail, and
At the time, Mexico was undergoing a great cultural
renewal - Mexican renaissance - promoting "Mexicanity"
in reaction to the exoticism that prevailed, for breathing
new life into traditional art; the muralist production was
the movement‚s most obvious expression. Modotti
emerged from her studio to photograph the murals. As
well, she broadened the field of her subject matter,
exploring urban and industrial themes in more depth.
In 1927-1929, the works of Modotti became clearly more
social and revolutionary. She photographed street scenes:
mothers and their children peasants demonstrating
workers bowed under the weight of their loads. Modotti
was the official photographer of the newspaper El
Machette, the communist party's organ edited by left-wing
and avant-garde artist and intellectuals. She produces a
series of photographs in which her social preoccupations
and formal research were amalgamated.
Modotti‚s art testifies to the social upheavals of the
beginning of century. The photographer connected two
seemingly opposed fields: politics and art. She assembled
typical object of Mexican culture in compositions stripped
of exoticism to illustrate an ideological standpoint.
Organised by the Louise Bédard Danse Company, the
exhibition is presented in conjonction with ELLES, a
dance performance directed and interpreted by Louise
Bédard. Inspired by the work of Tina Modotti, the
choreographer took the strong images of Modotti‚s life,
era and adopted country, Mexico, and put them into
movement. The performance will take place at
Centennial Theatre, Saturday November 9, at 8pm.
Lucie Bureau, Guess Curator of the exhibit, will be the
guess for the P‚tites causeries held an hour before the
performance, at 7pm.
Guest Curator talk: Thursday, October 24, 2002 at 1:00pm
at the Art Gallery of Bishop's University
Lucie Bureau will be available for phone interviews
Tina Modotti, Woman playing guitar,
Gelatin silver print/Épreuve gélatino-argentique, 8 x 10".
Fototeca del INAH Collection/Collection de la Fototeca del INAH.