Lucha Libre legends photographer Lourdes Grobet dies aged 81 –


Lourdes Grobet, the multifaceted Mexican artist who immortalized the legends of lucha libre with her camera lens, has died aged 81.

For four decades, she conducted experiments in video, performance and photography that explored the social reality of the Mexican working class of the 20th century. His most beloved images feature heroes and villains of the spectacular sport of lucha libre in modest settings: next to the stove, touching up makeup or breastfeeding children.

Over the weekend, other artists and fans from Mexico and beyond praised the curious and rebellious vein of Grobet’s photography. She leaves behind an extraordinary work on social class and gender in her country, the Cuban-American artist Coco Fusco wrote on Twitter. “His portraits of luchadores are absolutely unforgettable. Farewell and thank you, dear Lourdes.

Lourdes Grobet was born in 1940 in Mexico City to a Swiss-Mexican family. She studied plastic arts at the Universidad Iberoámericana under members of the Mexican avant-garde, including Mathias Goeritz, Gilberto Aceves Navarro and Katy Horna.

“The teachers who influenced me the most at first,” Grobet later said, “were Mathias, Gilberto, and El Santo – The Man in the Silver Mask,” one of the most iconic luchadores. As a student, Grobet sought to expand her practice beyond painting, and with the encouragement of her teachers, she left Mexico in 1968 to continue her studies in France.

She found the immediacy and communicative aspects of photography suited her activities. “Looking around her, and after asking myself the inevitable questions about what art is, it became clear that for me it was a language, a way of saying things, and so I had to find the best way to say them,” she told Angélica. Abelleira in 2005.

Grobet returned to Mexico City in the 1970s and found a rising fascist movement based on anti-communist sentiment and so-called traditional Christian values. Her first major outing dates back to 1970 at the Galería Misrachi, where she presented the installation Serendipiti (Serendipity), a “labyrinth of raised floors, lights and mirrors”, according to the Hammer Museum, which the public was invited to explore. Between 1973 and 1975, she presented two photo performances at the Casa del Lago: At the table (At the table), a photo wall of household appliances, and Hora and media (Hour and a half), in which she was photographed as she stepped on a wooden frame and ripped off the foil covering it.

She left Mexico again in 1977 to study photography at the Cardiff School of Art and Design in Wales. Upon her return to Mexico City in the late 1970s, she joined Proceso Pentágono, an artists’ collective that organized incisive public interventions and championed experimentation in response to social oppression, and became involved in the Consejo Mexicano de Fotografía, a newly created cultural institution dedicated to the promotion and innovation of photography in Mexico.

Grobet began chronicling lucha libre in the 1980s, demystifying star athletes without undermining the weirdness that sets them apart. Both male and female wrestlers – she called the double lucha, or the two-way struggle – were photographed in intimate settings and even arranged as for a banal family portrait, but always disguised in fantastic costumes.

His publications include “Lucha Libre: Masked Superstars of Mexican Wrestling” from 2005 and his images are in the collections of Fundación Cultural Televisa and Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City; Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin; and Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, among others.


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