RESEARCH: “Documentos y correspondencia de Manuel Álvarez Bravo” (Documents and Correspondence of Manuel Álvarez Bravo)
Thanks to the support of the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (Conaculta; National Council for Culture and the Arts).
In 2012 Manuel Álvarez Bravo was honored with two major exhibitions: “Un photographe aux aguets” (A Photographer on the Lookout) in the Jeu de Paume in Paris and “Una biografía cultural” (A Cultural Biography) in the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes (Museum of the Palace of Fine Arts) of Mexico City. The curatorship of both exhibitions led to the review of the Álvarez Bravo documentary archive.
The interest and abundance of materials discovered made it possible to formulate a plan of research, cataloguing, conservation, and digitalization of the content. A work plan was prepared and support was requested from the Comisión de Cultura de la Cámara de Diputados (Culture Commission of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies) and the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes through its Cultural Projects 2013 program.
Once the project was approved, a database was created with a record for each document, which compiled general information (sender, recipient, place, and date) and specific information (post or occupation of the sender and recipient, major figures, events, and works mentioned in the document), in addition to a description and thematic catalogue.
Creating the database has permitted putting the materials to best use and opened new fields of study on Manuel Álvarez Bravo’s life and work, the cultural life of Mexico in those years, and his relationship with national and international institutions. A large number of these documents refer to people connected with photography and art, so that they can also complement or enrich materials from other archives in Mexico and abroad. We are convinced that the preservation of the memory and culture of Mexico and the world depends first on the recovery of private archives and on what is under the care of this Association.
Exhibition “Entre Vistas” (Inter-Views)
“70 Years of Interviews with Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Second Stage”
Thanks to the support that the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (National Fund for Culture and Arts) awarded to the Asociación Manuel Alvarez Bravo for the project “70 Years of Interviews with Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Second Stage,” the Asociación currently conducts research that includes scanning, transcription, and analysis of interviews with Manuel Álvarez Bravo between 1931 and 2001. The following are some examples:
- “Ricardo Mantel o lo que hizo por nosotros: entrevista con Manuel Álvarez Bravo” (Ricardo Mantel or what he did for us: interview with Manuel Álvarez Bravo) by Carlos del Río in Revista de Revistas, December 20, 1931.
- “Bravo Bravo!” by Tom Picton and Marcos Valdivia in Camera Work, no. 3, July 1976.
- “Entrevista con el maestro Manuel Álvarez Bravo: los fotógrafos vamos para arriba, despacito, despacito” (Interview with maestro Manuel Álvarez Bravo: we photographers are coming up slowly, slowly) in Foto Forum, no. 4, June 1989.
- “La bella y perenne imagen de Álvarez Bravo” (The beautiful and enduring image of Álvarez Bravo) by Laura Arley in Jueves de Excélsior, no. 3679, January 21, 1993.
- “La fotografía es tiempo” (Photography is time) by Adriana Malvido in Equis, no. 35, March 2001.
Research: “70 Years of Interviews with Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Second Stage”
Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, UNESCO Memory of the World, Mexico
On February 21, 2016, in the Chapel of the Palacio de Minería, the Mexican Committee UNESCO Memory of the World presented the Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C. the register as documentary patrimony in Memory of the World of Mexico for
“The archive of negatives, publications, and documents of Manuel Álvarez Bravo.”
This inscription reflects its remarkable value and the commitment to protect it for the benefit of humanity, as well as to spread awareness of it, and to ensure access to it on the part of all interested parties.
Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo
From July 1 to August 21, 2016, the Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo, presented the exhibition “Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Photographs: Mexico, Light, and Time in Silence,” composed of 192 works. This exhibition, curated by Miki Tsukada, was later on display in the Nagoya City Art Museum and the Shizuoka City Museum of Art.
Fenómeno Fotolibro(Photo book phenomenon). Barcelona
“Fenómeno Fotolibro” (Photo book phenomenon). Exhibition that took place in the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB; Barcelona Contemporary Culture Center) from March 17 to August 27, 2017. The exhibition showcased books of photography in contemporary visual culture and offered a reinterpretation of the history of photography through this means. Nine curators, who spent years at the cutting edge of the photographic book movement, shared their respective visions in an ensemble exhibition that could be seen in the CCCB and the Fundación Foto Colectania.
“La biblioteca es el Museo” (The Library Is the Museum), Fundación Foto Colectania, with photos and books by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, and Gabriel Cualladó. Curated by Horacio Fernández.
Shizuoka City Museum of Art, Japan
On April 8, 2017, the Shizuoka City Museum of Art, presented the exhibition “Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Photographs: Mexico, Light, Time in Silence,” composed of 192 works. This exhibition was curated by Miki Tsukada.
The Archivo de Manuel Álvarez Bravo in the UNESCO Memory of the World
On Sunday, March 4, 2018, the Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo received the certification of its inscription in the International Register of the UNESCO Memory of the World, at its highest level.
As a result, not only does don Manuel’s legacy continue to be celebrated worldwide, but also the work carried out over the last thirteen years by the organization bearing his name that safeguards his negatives, documents, and library.
For six years, the Archive received support, without which this work would not have been possible. In addition to various individuals, the following organizations have collaborated in cataloguing don Manuel’s negatives and documents:
private non-profit organizations such as ADABI de México and Fundación Televisa, as well as the Fototeca Nacional del INAH (National Institute of Anthropology and History), the Instituto de Investigaciones Estéticas (Institute of Aesthetic Research) of the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), the Fondo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (National Fund for Culture and the Arts), the Comisión de Cultura of the Cámara de Diputados (Culture Commission of the Mexican Chamber of Deputies).
The Manuel Álvarez Bravo archive is alive and dynamic; it is open for consultation to anyone who needs to study its collections both within and outside of Mexico.
We will do everything in our power to honor this recognition. We believe that with perseverance it is possible to reach our goals and we hope to be able to contribute to strengthening actions to preserve photographic archives in Mexico.
“Manuel Álvarez Bravo. Los años decisivos” (The Decisive Years)
““Manuel Álvarez Bravo, The Decisive Years” was an exhibition organized in 1992 by the photography critic José Antonio Rodríguez (1961–2021) for the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City. It has inspired the exhibition that we present here, on the 120th anniversary of the birth of don Manuel.
These sixty-two works aspire to synthesize Álvarez Bravo’s creation during the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, which coincide with the period known as the Mexican Cultural Renaissance, a time of unprecedented effervescence that drew visitors and creators from other latitudes.
The exhibition “Manuel Álvarez Bravo, The Decisive Years” is on display at the Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Oaxaca, on November 19, 2022 to February 20, 2023.
Centro Fotográfico Manuel Álvarez Bravo
C. de Manuel Bravo 104, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oax.