El baño de Frida
In 2005, the bathroom of Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo’s private home, was reopened for the first time since her death 51 years ago. On this occasion Graciela Iturbide embarked on a voyage of discovery of the Mexican artist’s private life, documenting the fundamental “witnesses” of her human and artistic career during this week-long “journey”: medical supplies, artificial limbs, corsets, hospital gowns and stuffed animals, a portrait of Stalin and her hot-water bottle. Often paint-soiled, these objects testify to Frida’s inability to separate her private and artistic lives and to extricate her physical pain from her creative solace. The fusion of these elements is symbolised by her bathroom, a central place in her life, where she started each day and to which she often returned, using it as the setting for several of her works (including her famous self-portrait in the bath).
The first part of Graciela Iturbide’s project – a colour version with a more documentary slant – has been displayed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. The photographs published in this book are the result of a second “dialogue” between the two Mexican women, which took place in 2006. In this encounter, the photographer sought to establish intimate contact with the artist, coming face to face with her legend and her identity, which she has documented in 12 black-and-white photographs, ending with a self-portrait in a pose adopted by Frida in one of her famous works.
Graciela started working as the assistant of Manuel Alvarez Bravo at the age of 26 in her native Mexico City. Her first solo exhibition, dedicated to the Zapotec people, and particularly the women, was followed by a series of shows, held at venues ranging from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to the Museo Hendrik Christian Andersen in Rome during the first FotoGrafia Festival, which consecrated her as the quintessential visual narrator of the cultural identity of the Mexican people.
Deeply inspired by the work of Koudelka, Cartier-Bresson and Salgado, Graciela Iturbide has recently turned her attention to other cultures, as in this latest photo report on Mozambique. Her awards include first prize at the National Fine Arts Institute’s Photography Biennale for her portfolio entitled El Empleo o su carencia, the W. Eugene Smith Award and first prize at the fifth Mois de la Photographie in Paris. In 2007 she was invited by the Rome Commission to portray the city and in 2008 she won the prestigious Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.
She is the winner of the prestigious Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography in 2008.