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© Graciela Iturbide, 2022
From the mid 1970s, Graciela Iturbide’s work reflects her growing interest in Mexican popular celebrations and how they integrate elements from catholic and indigenous rituals. The hybrid character of these manifestations, where the joy of celebration goes hand in hand with the representation of death—which is conjured and simultaneously honored—corresponds to one of the most notable traits in Iturbide’s work: her will to avoid a closed image, an unequivocal gaze. Even in projects that are more anthropological in nature, there is a peculiar sense of humor in her images that combines with lyricism and the macabre while distancing them from the perils of an uncritical idealization of tradition.
In her registries of popular traditions or of indigenous communities, Iturbide’s perspective transcends documentary genres acknowledging the subjectivity of the gaze—which she knows to be unavoidable—within the reality she captures. This is one of the reasons why death, which so tragically marked her youth—her daughter Claudia died in 1970 at the age of seven— appears as a constant motif throughout her work, either directly or indirectly, by means of several visual tropes.