4 March 2024


Zoom lecture

Tina Modotti: The Eye of the Revolution

A lecture on the retrospective exhibition at the Jeu de Paume, Paris

(13 Feb.-26 May 2024)

with Sylvie Koneski

Tina Modotti, Sickle, Carttridge Belt and Corn Cob, 1927
Tina Modotti, Sickle, Carttridge Belt and Corn Cob, 1927

The exceptional trajectory of Tina Modotti (1896-1942), photographer and revolutionary activist, friend of painters Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera as well as model and actress for Hollywood silent films, made her one of the most notorious Latin American cultural figures of the 20th century.


Her life was marked by the key historical events of the early 20th century: Emigration to America from Europe, the birth of silent cinema in California, post-revolutionary Mexico, the rise of militant muralism, the vindication of indigenous Mexican culture, the struggle between Stalinists and Trotskyists, the Spanish Civil War.


Recognized in her lifetime as a great photographer, then forgotten for forty years, Tina Modotti was rediscovered and became a veritable icon in the 1990s. But what do we celebrate? The artist? The beautiful woman who collected lovers? Or the Communist who embodied the revolutionary spirit from Mexico City to Moscow, via the Spanish Civil War?


The Jeu de Paume presents the first major exhibition devoted to her in Paris. Long studied solely through the prism of the influence of the great photographer Edward Weston, Modotti's photographic work has finally come into its own in its singularity: its relative brevity - less than a decade - its evolution from art photography to political and social engagement, and its unique geographical anchorage - strongly rooted in a Mexican context and traversed by multiple external influences.

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