Manuel Álvarez Bravo, 'Un photographe aux aguets'

3 out of 5 stars
Exposition Manuel Alvarez Bravo au Jeu de Paume
/ © Colette Urbajtel / Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C. 'La fille des danseurs (La hija de los danzantes)', 1933

Although often seen as merely a collection of Mexican eccentricities, Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s work is far removed from a clichéd sombrero’ed Surrealism or the other odd, guacamole-covered works that show up from the European avant-garde. The proof is at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume this autumn, with an exhibition that takes a fresh look at this photographer’s complex and prolific body of work and his 80-year career. This rich retrospective of 150 pieces highlights recurring themes running through Álvarez Buno’s work: the ambiguous forms of Mexico, lifeless bodies, geometric landscapes, indeterminate objects, and poetry flow through his whole body of work. The recurrence of these features through time develops like a language, generating a series of cinematographic-like sequences. That’s the museum’s interpretation anyway, placing Bravo’s work next to short experimental films of the 1960s. It’s an honourable celebration of this witness to Latin American history, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 100.

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