Magali (Margarita Rosa) Lara (Zavala)

1956 | Mexico City, Mexico
Magali (Margarita Rosa) Lara (Zavala) — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Magali Lara, 2020, Photo Olga Vis

Mexican artist and teacher.

Magali Lara was admitted to the Escuela Nacional de Artes Visuales in Mexico City in 1976. She received a degree in visual arts from the Universidad de Guadalajara in 2008, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos in 2011. Since her youth, she has also been passionate about writing and has managed to incorporate this into her artistic path. Through small notebooks or chapbooks the artist manages to connect these two voices – one expressed in words and the other in images – allowing her to deeply explore her intimate lived experience in the form of visual essays.
The 1970s in Mexico were marked by agitation and struggle for equal rights for women. Feminism emerged at the core of M. Lara’s critical thinking and became “a resource to reformulate her work and its relationship with the body”. Thus, autobiographical references grew into a constant interrogation, a line running through and connecting her entire production. In her first solo show, Tijeras (1977), and the series Ventanas [Windows, 1977-1978], she deployed disparate components such as photography, handwritten text, drawing, stains, mistakes and photocopies, along with visual elements borrowed from comic books, to examine women’s reality in terms of their daily lives and sexual issues. In the book De lo amoroso, personal, confidencia, etc. [About loving, the intimate, things told in confidence, etc., 1982], she imprinted her fingers and lips on paper, revealing the importance of corporality in her work as a way to “perform feelings and ideas” through writing and drawing.

Throughout her trajectory, M. Lara has made varied collaborative pieces that have allowed her to forge professional links and explore other artistic idioms and modes of materialising her intimist poetry. Particularly noteworthy among them is her participation, at the invitation of Yani Pecanins (1957-2019), in the “Cocina Ediciones” [Kitchen Editions, 1977-1993] project (1977-1993), making an artist’s book with Emma Cecilia García Krinsky; a visual poetry project with the Grupo Março (1979-1982), in which she developed conversational exchanges with other South American artists; or visual pieces for two voices, such as Baños [Baths, 1981] with Lourdes Grobet (1940-), and Glaciares [Glaciers, 2009] with the composer Ana Lara.
Thanks to these projects, M. Lara has been able to embrace a variety of both formal and conceptual concerns. This work has drawn on her wide range of reading, including novels, psychoanalytical texts, art criticism and feminist critiques, yielding themes running through works like Kafka and Fuga [Escape, 1998], Madre [Mother] and Miento [I lie, 2002], and the series of paintings Coraza [Bleastplate, 2018].

During the more than forty years of her journey, M. Lara has exhibited in many solo and group shows. Her work has been prominent in curatorial surveys such as Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985. In 2019 she was awarded the Medalla al Mérito en Artes by the Mexico City Congress. Her tireless investigation of the self has led to her work becoming an object of feminist studies, based on the Second Wave slogan “The personal is political”.
Her work has been acquired by collections such as the Banco Nacional and the Museo de Arte Moderno (Mexico); the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) in Argentina; and the Museum of Latin America Art (MOLAA) and the MoMA in the United States.

Karime García Martínez

Translated from Spanish by Leo Stephen Torgoff.

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

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