50 Years of Latin American Photography

By
Yohann Koshy
Marcos López, Plaza de Mayo, Buenos aires, 1996. © Marcos López

There’s a sprawling, comprehensive exhibition going on in Mexico that you’d be a fool to miss. Latin America 1960-2013. Photos and Texts gathers four hundred works from 71 artists from 11 different countries across Latin America.

Focusing on photography, text, and everything in between (photomontage, silk-screening, offset printing, installations…), the exhibition looks at Latin America’s complex regional, political, and economic history.

There’s a dizzying amount of themes and topics explored. As you might imagine, Latin America’s uneven journey from neo-colonialism and authoritarian rule to relative economic and political independence has left its imprint on many of the continent’s artists.  

Eduardo Villanes - Gloria Evaporada

Eduardo Villanes, Gloria evaporada, 1994. © Eduardo Villanes.

In 1992, nine students in Peru were abducted by a military death squad supported by the government. In an incredible act of disrespect, the police then delivered the charred remains of the abductees to their families in Gloria Evaporado boxes, a commonly reused box in Peru which are meant to contain evaporated milk. Eduardo Villanes’ series Gloria evaporada is a response to this dark chapter from Alberto Fujimori’s regime.  

León Ferrari – Sin título 

León Ferrari, Sin Título, 1995. © León Ferrari.

León Ferrari - who passed away last year - was an Argentinian conceptual artist. This photomontage is taken from his work Nunca Más (No More) which re-mixes testimonies from political prisoners under Argentina's military dictatorship. 

Marcos López - Playza de Mayo, Buenos aires

 

Marcos López, Plaza de Mayo, Buenos aires, 1996. © Marcos López

Marcos López describes himself as an underdeveloped Andy Warhol. He shouldn't be so modest! His garish and gaudy representations of commodities and advertising are striking and funny. He also reminds us that, despite all the juntas and dread, humour remains a vital component of Latin American art. Just look at his inexplicably hilarious send up of Damien Hirst's silly crystal skull.  

Miguel Calderón - Sin Título

Miguel Calderón, Sin Título, 2006. © Miguel Calderón.

Uh oh! Time to make way for the 'enfant terrible' of the Mexican art scene! Most famous for his bizarre and enchanting series Aggressively Medicore - from which a painting was featured in the background of The Royal Tenenbaums - Calderón's work is satirical and irreverent.  

Anna Bella Geiger - Little Boys & Girls

Anna Bella Geiger, Little Boys & Girls, 1975. © Anna Bella Geiger.

Born in 1933, Anna Bella Geiger is an acclaimed Brazilian visual artist who, here, uses photomontage to examine her country's relationship with its indigenous Xingu population. 

Paolo Gasparini - El habitat de los hombres...

Description: Paolo Gasparini, El habitat de los hombres, 1968. © Paolo Gasparini.

Paolo Gasparini's realist, black & white photographs of political movements in places like Cuba earned him numerous accolades. One of his favourite themes is advertising; here, he captures the rise of billboards and other capitalist ephemera in 1968 Venezuela.

Latin America 1960-2013. Photos and Texts is at Museo Amparo in Pueblo, Mexico until 29 September 2014.  

Unconventional by Tradition

Discover how urban creatives helped us design our new packaging.

Read more