Centre for Contemporary Art
Ujazdowski Castle, Underground
5 April - 8 May 2005



Flor Garduño - Witnesses of Time


Flor Garduño - Canasta de luz
Sumpango, Guatemala, 1989

THE MEXICAN photography is much appreciated throughout the world. One of the reasons for that is the work of the most prominent figure of Mexican photography, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, who died not long ago. Well known are also achievements of a whole galaxy of excellent Mexican photographers. One of the most esteemed camera artist became Flor Garduño. Her work concentrates around recording the region in which she is involved emotionally and culturally, that is to say, the countries of South America, her native Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Bolivia.

Her project significantly named "Testigos del Tiempo" (Witnesses of Time) was realized in the years 1983-1991. It is documentary photographic recording of the life of people living beyond great cities, devoted to their daily rhythm and customs. Her pictures contain a wealth of the sense of form. Garduño photographed life, religious celebrations and social events. All this was done while maintaining certain distance and with great emphasis put on regularity of composition and balanced framing. It is equally true when she is photographing true world of poor people from provincial regions and when her pictures present landscape, architecture, wealth of tropical nature. All this was realized using very sophisticated, sparing means with lighting and composition playing primary role.

The photographs of Flor Garduño will have their permanent place in rich tradition of humanistic photography which presently, in the times of rapid development of technical civilization, acquires exceptional importance through depth of its content and nobleness of form.

Flor Garduño - La Mujer que suena. Pinotepa Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico, 1991

Flor Garduño - La giganta Sumpango, Guatemala, 1989

Flor Garduño in Warsaw. Photo by K. Wojciechowski

Flor Garduño was born in 1957 in Mexico. She studied Fine Arts in the San Carlos Academy in Mexico. For two years she worked as an assistant to Manuel Alvarez Bravo. Since 1980 she has been working as freelance photographer. She presented her works in many galleries and museums in Mexico and USA and also in Europe (Paris, London, Zurich.

The exhibition "Witnesses of Time" was presented in 35 museums, interalia in the Art Institute of Chicago, the Center of Creative Photography in Tucson, the art museums in Mexico, Chile, Argentina, in the Musee d'Elyseein Lausanne and in the University of Salamanca in Spain.

Her works are part of many prestigious collections like the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the National Foundation of Art and Culture in Mexico and in many public and private collections in America and Europe. She published several books of her photographs, the most famous of them is "Testigos del Tiempo" published, inter alia, by the Thames and Hudson in London, the Motta Editore in Milan and the Aperture in New York.

Marek Grygiel

Flor Garduño - La mujer. Juchitan, Oaxaca, Mexico, 1987

Flor Garduño - La novia y su madre. Tixan, Ecuador, 1988

Flor Garduño - Reyes de bastos. Tulancingo, Hidalgo, Mexico, 1981


"Witnesses of Time"
Flor Garduño, Carlos Fuentes (Foreword)
Hardcover: 168 pages,
Publisher: Aperture; 2nd edition (May 1, 2001)
ISBN: 0893819190

Witnesses of Time collects Flor Garduño's remarkable pictures of the original America, where the sacred and symbolic are revealed in daily life. In remote corners of Mexico and Central and South America, native Indians continue to practice ancient rituals as they have for millennia. Their rites embody a distinct worldview and a unique perception of time.

The result of travels through rural towns in Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, Witnesses of Time encompasses landscape, architecture, ceremonies, tableaux, and portraits. Figures in Garduño's evocative images become clues to the spirituality of the Indian cosmos. Landforms hint at other, unseen orders of being. Common acts take on an extra dimension through their ritual associations in communities that still retain their ties to the environment.

Complemented by an Introduction by the world-renowned Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, Witnesses of Time is a monument to a fascinating way of life, portrayed with an unparalleled sensibility.


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