"Looking at the Other. Albums of Mexico": The Recovery of Unknown Images from the Past - Expat Community

“Looking at the Other. Albums of Mexico”: The Recovery of Unknown Images from the Past

Apr 18, 2024 | Mexico, News & Articles | 0 comments

By José Quezada

The exhibition “Looking at the Other. Albums of Mexico,” curated by Mauricio Maillé, consists of six folders and their reproductions in various formats, originating from the collection of the Ricardo B. Salinas Pliego Collection and exhibited at the Museum of Art and History of Guanajuato, within the Guanajuato Cultural Forum, as part of the programming of the Liber Festival Wagner 2024.

Since photography was invented, it began to be collected in albums, were the introductory words of Maillé during the guided tour offered to local and national media. The material in the exhibition consists mostly of images that had not been visible to the public before the formation of the exhibition —the first edition was set up at the Seminar of Mexican Culture—. “Six exemplary albums from the Ricardo B. Salinas Pliego Collection, which has made an effort to gather heritage from the late 19th and early 20th centuries,” he added.

Each of the albums, in addition to being physically exhibited alongside their respective reproductions in large format, received museographic treatment. “Each one has a way of approaching our country.” At the beginning of the tour, there are eight hanging photos, from the “Album of Mexican Types”: popular types and trades practiced in Mexico City that have disappeared, which can be seen on 44 cards dating from 1868-1877. It is important to highlight that this first album was assembled, based on material gathered in antique markets, by the historian Guillermo Tovar de Teresa. A valuable heritage, in Maillé’s words, because “photography will become invisible over time.”

The second album summarizes scientific explorations in the Sierra Tarahumara and is made up of photographs that Carl Lumholtz took between 1904 and 1906; “copies of exceptional quality,” records of the Rarámuri’s daily life at the time: houses, portraits, and communities.

They are followed by “extraordinary images” of Mexico City that C. B. Waite recorded in 1904; an album of unknown authorship. In the same area, there are stereoscopic images, which come together through color and give an effect in which two dimensions overlap (they can be seen with bicolor lenses).

In the last section are the images that José María Lupercio, who had previous artistic training, made of emblematic sites and indigenous communities in the State of Jalisco between 1900 and 1901. Finally, the Mexican portfolio of Paul Strand, consisting of 20 photographs he took in the 1930s: “Images of brutal force, a synthesis of a two-year stay,” says Maillé and emphasizes that Strand was invited to work in Mexico after the creation of the Ministry of Public Education. “A fantastic conversation between Paul Strand’s faces and those of the Huichol communities recorded by Lupercio.”

The texts accompanying the images were made by artists, intellectuals, and writers who are part of the Seminar of Mexican Culture, such as Silvia Molina and Mauricio Beuchot. The exhibition can be seen from Tuesday to Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Admission costs $20 and $40 pesos. On Sundays, admission is free.

In the Museum’s lobby, the virtual reality experience “Pavilion of Encounter,” created by Álvaro Hegewisch, was also inaugurated, in which the fall of the great Tenochtitlán is recreated for the public. It can be seen until April 21, at different times each day. Admission is free.


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