They revive the critical gaze of the visual artist Ignacio López Bocanegra

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For the visual artist Ignacio López Bocanegrabetter known as Nacho López (1923-1986)a photograph was not an artistic piece, but a social document that allowed him to communicate a message or provoke a reaction in those who observed his work, he tells Excelsior Citlalli Lopez
Binnqüist, academic at the Universidad Veracruzana (UV) and daughter of the visual artist who is remembered on the centenary of his birth with exhibitions in Xalapa and Mexico City.

The first was inaugurated a few days ago, in the Ramón Alva de la Canal Galleryfrom the Universidad Veracruzana (UV), under the title The Mexico of Nacho López: 100 years, 100 photographs, which presents a panoramic view of his work that denounced injustices, discrimination and everything that attacked collective life, given that he always had a political and social commitment that marked the direction of his work.

The next exhibition will be Nacho Lopez. Image, memory and critical vision 100 years after his birth, at the National Arts Center, which will open next Thursday, October 19, with 50 photographs about indigenous peoples and dance, as well as audio and video interviews with the artist, his daughters and some colleagues. And another one will open next December, in the Photography Archive Museum (MAF)with images that he captured in the Mezquital Valley and in Xalapa.

Considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century, “Nacho was a person who, throughout his life, was interested in studying, teaching and researching, and he did that in each of the jobs he did, so he "It gave me time to read, investigate, and even do interviews," says Citlalli López, like when she set out to write a dance book, which she didn't manage to complete, but she did conduct several interviews with choreographers, composers, set designers, male and female dancers about dance in Mexico.

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He considered that the camera is not a weapon. “He emphasized that when arriving at a community it was important that they get to know it and then take out the camera to obtain deep photographs that reflect the life of these spaces and not arrive with the camera as a weapon, shooting and taking the image.”

How well do we know his work? “Little has been seen. There are photos that have been constantly chosen that are already a point of reference, but there are a large number that are not known. In the National Photo Library, which is kept by the INAH, 41 thousand negatives of Nacho are kept, the documentary part is missing (connecting) and making a relationship between the context of why and how of his stages.

Furthermore, “there are series that he himself thought of in that way, but there are others that he later integrated, and that would be interesting to investigate and show.”


To find out the details of the exhibition open at the Ramón Alva de la Canal Gallery, which will close on December 3, Santiago Pérez Garci, coordinator of the Ramón Alva de la Canal Gallery, tells Excelsior that in this the city is the central theme.

We present urban views, characters, jobs, life in pulquerías, in cantinas, the famous globero in Fine Arts, that is, the change of the metropolis towards the end of the 40s and 50s that frames a modernity contradictory to the modernization processes ”.

In this first tribute exhibition “the relevance of the Mexican and modern photographer who captured the rural and urban life of Mexico City, from the late 1940s until his death, is appreciated, but it also represents his time at the Universidad Veracruzana, with a good set of documentary materials that allow us to see the intellectual and aesthetic lucidity of the great artist.”

As well as photos of the series When a beautiful woman leaves the plaza for Madero (1953) and lVenus went on a spree in the slums, published in 1953, during his time as a photojournalist for the magazine Always!.

The celebration of Nacho López's centenary will also include a commented cinema activity on October 26 and November 16, at the Cenart, where the documentaries will be screened. Chichimecas Mission (1970) and The cultured men (1972), directed by Nacho López, among others.


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