With a pair of sturdy, round glasses framing his face, Agustín Jiménez (1901-1974) pioneered some of the first images of abstract photography in Mexico in the early 1930s. Born in Mexico City, the son of a photographer, filmmaker and painter of the same name who worked as a copyist at the old San Carlos Academy, Jiménez was one of the undisputed leaders of the historical avant-garde of Mexican photography.
The vanguardism practiced by Jiménez specifically addressed the incorporation of visual elements that did not belong to the field of photography — abstract compositions of everyday objects, textures, shadows and reflections, as well as the use of lines, diagonals, rhythmic repetitions and vanishing points. His lens was able to take a fragment of everyday reality and reveal it from an angle of unusual beauty.
This exhibition briefly traces Jiménez’s career, focusing on his photographic work as a key piece in the emergence of a new photographic syntax in the 20th century that laid some of the foundations for contemporary visuality. It consists mainly of works from the Archivo Fotográfico Agustín Jiménez, as well as a temporary loan from the collection of the Museo de Arte Moderno (MAM) in Mexico City, which holds two of Jiménez’s photographs. The artists who join Jiménez in this exhibition are Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Emilio Amero, Miriam Dilhman, Librado García Smarth, Aurora Eugenia Latapí, Walter Lipkau, Luis Márquez, Daniel Masclet, Tina Modotti, Armando Salas Portugal and Edward Weston.
A pioneer of the modern view in Mexico, Agustín Jiménez was unknown to the art world for decades. A photographer from a very young age, he ended up dedicating his life to cinema, participating in nearly 200 films as director of photography, in addition to teaching and recording the artistic work of painters such as Juan O’Gorman, Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo. This is the first exhibition in Guadalajara to focus on Agustín Jiménez’s work, and this endeavour strives to reappraise an unjustly forgotten body of work.