Lourdes Grobet

1940 | Mexico City, Mexico
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Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Lourdes Grobet, Courtesy of the artist

Mexican artist and photographer.

Born to a Swiss-Mexican family, Lourdes Grobet is one of Mexico’s most prolific artists, with a body of work spanning more than six decades. Though her oeuvre is wide-ranging, she is best known for her photography projects that push boundaries in their intimacy and breadth, serving as tributes to both their subjects and viewers, while influencing younger generations of Mexican artists.
Educated by members of the post-war Mexican avant-garde, L. Grobet’s mentors – including Mathias Goeritz (1915-1990), Kati Horna (1912-2000) and Gilberto Aceves Navarro (1931-2019) – imparted a critical view of artistic production, compelling her to leave Mexico in 1968 to continue her studies in France. She became disillusioned with painting and embraced the social potential of photography. L. Grobet returned to an increasingly authoritarian Mexico City in the mid-1970s. She joined Proceso Pentágono, an experimental collective that explored new forms of artistic production through incisive social critique often in the form of public interventions.

L. Grobet concurrently embarked on several projects combining photography, performance, conceptualism and installation, including Hora y media [Hour and a half, 1975], a photo performance in which she burst – fully clothed – through a metallic sheet like a non-objectified Botticelli Venus.
During this time L. Grobet started on her most emblematic body of work, the Lucha Libre (Free Fight) photos. More than a visual ethnography, her extensive photo seriesspans over two decades depicting Lucha Libre fighters both in the wresting ring and in more vulnerable moments; in one image a masked female fighter is shown breastfeeding a baby. Beyond M. Goertiz, G. A. Navarro, and K. Horna, L. Grobet has cited “El Santo”, The Saint, the silver-masked luchador hero from her youth, as one of her most significant influences. When she was a child, interest in Lucha Libre still spanned both the working and middle classes, but by the 1970s wealthier Mexicans largely shunned their nation’s popular culture – including the luchadores (fighters). Her photo series serves as a personal interrogation and repositioning of this paragon of Mexican popular culture through the lens of politics, class and race.

L. Grobet also began work on several smaller-scale photography projects in the 1980s and 1990s. One resulting series from her ongoing Laboratorio de Teatro Campesino [Laboratory of Peasant Theatre] project depicts indigenous Mexicans in famous theatre productions or in elaborate bespoke costumes, defying perennial stereotypes about native and rural populations. In another, titled Paisajes Pintadas [Painted landscapes], L. Grobet inverts the typically nationalistic role of Mexican landscape painting by covering trees, rocks and cacti in brightly coloured paint and then photographing her interventions in different locations, including rural England and Mexico’s Central Valleys. These landscape photos are part punk, part land art, and like much of her practice, defy attribution to any particular artistic current or critique. Her most recent experimental photo series explores travel and technology.
Her work is included in a number of collections, such as Fundación Televisa and Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in the United States, and Musée du Quai Branly in France.

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Miller Schulman

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring


© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, La Briosa (Briosa and son), 1984, photograph, from the series La Doble jornada [The doble working day], 1981-2005, Collection of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, La Briosa (Briosa and grandson), 2005, photograph, from the series La Doble jornada [The doble working day], 1981-2005, Collection of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, Hora y media [Hour and a half], 1975, photo performance, three black-and-white photographs, 160 x 105 cm (63 x 41 1/16 in each), Courtesy of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, Hora y media [Hour and a half], 1975, photo performance, three black-and-white photographs, 160 x 105 cm (63 x 41 1/16 in each), Courtesy of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, Hora y media [Hour and a half], 1975, photo performance, three black-and-white photographs, 160 x 105 cm (63 x 41 1/16 in each), Courtesy of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, Cuarto de tortura [Torture room], image from a Proceso Pentágono, installation, c. 1975

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, La Venus [The Venus], black-and-white photograph, 24 x 35.5 cm (9 1⁄2 in x 14 in), from the series La doble lucha [The double struggle], 1981-2005, Collection of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, Chavela Romero vs Vicky Williams, 1981, photograph, from the series Lucha Libre [Free Fight], 1980-2003, Courtesy of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, Irma Gonzalez vs Lola Gonzalez, 1984, photograph, from the series Lucha Libre [Free Fight], 1980-2003, Courtesy of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, La Tragedia del jaguar [The Tragedy of the Jaguar], photograph, from the series Laboratorio de Teatro Campesino [Laboratory of Peasant Theatre], 1984-2018

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, La Tragedia del jaguar [The Tragedy of the Jaguar], photograph, from the series Laboratorio de Teatro Campesino [Laboratory of Peasant Theatre], 1984-2018

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, Kidnapping, 1986, photograph, Courtesy of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, Butterfly, 1987, photograph, Courtesy of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, Paisajes pintados [Landscapes painted], 1981, photograph, Courtesy of the artist

Lourdes Grobet — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Lourdes Grobet, Paisajes pintados de luz [Landscapes painted with light], 1991, photograph, Courtesy of the artist

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