Viva la Reyna de México (Gallery)
Pre-subscription to a limited-edition portfolio of photogravures by Byron Brauchli.
The 15 copper-plate gravures will be from 5x7″ to 9x12″ in size, printed on 22x15″ Sommerset rag paper in a boxed set limited to fifty signed copies. To view this series please visit, please visit: http://www.byronbrauchli.com/galleries/vivareyna
$750.00 USD: Portfolios 1/50-10/50 (Sold out)
$2000.00 USD: Portfolios 11/50-20/50
Expected date of completion: December, 2008
For further information, please email or call +52 (228) 813-2007.
Viva la Reyna de México (Gallery)
It has been over one thousand miles and six years since I began accompanying the Xalacingo (Veracruz, Mexico) Athletic Club on a variety of bicycle pilgrimages. For many Xalacingo natives of this “bicycle town,” as the mountainous village has been called on more than one occasion, the pilgrimages to the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City in honor of the Virgin’s apparition, or to Atempan, Puebla in celebration of Holy Week, are little more than an extension of their daily activities, as much a rite in faith as faith in athletics. To a certain degree this was the nexus that I found in common with them. I also enjoy bicycling, and with my faith in the sport, and in photography, and in the relationship I have had in Xalacingo for more than 20 years since my marriage there, I began this photographic sojourn.
From the outset of this 3-day trek, physical condition and stamina are a given; what I had not anticipated was that the harsh realities of everyday life: social mobility, migration, work, all seemed to weight in as heavily as religion. My quest became an exploration and understanding of these contemporary complexities on a level beyond the sacred context in which these pilgrimages are often placed. As a participant, I got beyond the appearances of the event, to know and appreciate and help out others. And they, in turn, helped me out, letting me know of the “good” photographs, stopping traffic for photographs of wild dogs, or just defending me as one of them from crazy chilangos (slang for Mexico City residents).
The photographs are documents of the rides I have made; they are a subjective testimony to my participation. They are also an act of inquiry, learning, and comprehension.
“Where is Juan? I’ve brought him a photo from the trip last year.” “He’s gone to the gabacho (U.S.A.). “And Barbie?” “He’s working as an electrician in Jacksonville.”
Between displacements and new friendships, the photos become an attempt to understand that life is not always so easy or perfect as we imagine it. They are also a result of hard work. They are the guts of an unfortunate dog that didn’t survive the heavy traffic one December 11th. They are the movement and exhaustion of the 180-mile rides to Mexico City, the relaxation during rest stops and at night.
And they are an attempt to make art. The prints play with reality: taken at times with a plastic toy camera, printed at times in photogravure on rag papers, they remove us from what we see as the “truth” of a documentary photograph. They present other realities: the different reaction of a subject in front of a toy camera, or nineteenth-century gravures of a formal and aesthetic nature which seem to contradict the modern twenty-first century life they hail from. What if, instead of insisting on photography as reality, we push it to another extreme? This is, and has been, my manner of seeing.
— Byron Brauchli
Byron Brauchli (Boulder, CO. 1960) specializes in Mexican-American visual studies and alternate photographic processes. He holds an M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and has taught at such institutions as the University of Texas at Austin, Texas State University, the Centro de la Imagen in Mexico City, among others. Currently he is a researcher at the Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Veracruz.
He has received a U.S. Mexico Fund for Culture Grant to photograph the Mexican-U.S. border, where he took the images included in Cultural Refractions: Border Life in No Man´s Land. In 1999-2000 he was a Fulbright-García Robles Fellow where he collaborated with the Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Veracruz on the project Landscape and Modernity. With over 90 individual and collective exhibits, his work has been exhibited internationally and is in various collections and magazines.
In 2007 his work was selected for inclusion in the project “Migraciones”, under the auspices of the Mexican National Endowment for the Arts, and this year the University of Veracruz is publishing Frontera, a book of border photography by him and Fernando Meza.