Kati Horna at Museo Amparo, Puebla
Commemorating the centennial of the birth of Kati Horna (Szilas-Balhas, Hungary 1912- Mexico City 2000), celebrated in 2012, Museo Amparo in collaboration with the Jeu de Paume in Paris, present the homonymous exhibition Kati Horna, with the intention of generating international recognition of this versatile photographer of a committed humanism, highlighting her unique creativity and contributions made to the development of photojournalism and photo-essay.
The exhibition Kati Horna seeks to present an extensive account of her work, permitting a revaluation and recovery of this artist who began delving in photography at the age of 21 in Hungary, surrounded by the rise of the European avant-garde of the 1930s, showing for this purpose her vast production spanning over six decades in Europe and in Mexico, her adopted country.
More than 150 works -most of them vintage prints- are presented, of which 70% are unpublished or rarely seen works. In addition, extensive documentation is included along with personal photographs of the artist, as well as journals with which she collaborated in her journeys through Hungary, France, Spain, and Mexico. The works come from the Archivo Privado de Fotografía y Gráfica Kati y José Horna, Centro de Documentación de la Memoria Histórica de Salamanca, and private collections.
The curators of the exhibition, Ángeles Alonso and José Antonio Rodríguez, organized the show around three main axes:
1. Origins: Budapest, Berlin and Paris. Born in Hungary during a time of instability, political and social conflict, violence, injustice and danger will define her in profound ways. It is in these beginnings where we see signs of an aesthetic that will accompany her throught her life, producing collages and photomontages, very in tune with the movements of the Bauhaus, Surrealism, and the new German objectivity, all part of the modern, avant-garde of Europe in the 1930s.
2. Spain and the Civil War. Between 1937 and 1939, Kati Horna documented the Spanish Civil War in a sensitive manner. Of this work, there are now over 270 currently known negatives, documenting the reality of military conflict in the front as well as the testimony of everyday life of civilians, through a prism that coexists with the environment and people.
3. Mexico. In 1939 she returned to Paris, but the expansion of Nazism in Europe made her flee to Mexico with her ??husband, the Andalusian artist José Horna. Mexico would become her definitive homeland. Important figures of Surrealism (Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, Benjamin Peret and Edward James), of the movimiento pánico (Alejandro Jodorowsky), the artistic, literary and architectural avant-garde in Mexico (Mathias Goeritz, Germán Cueto, Pedro Friedeberg, Salvador Elizondo, Alfonso Reyes and Ricardo Legorreta) were part of her daily life. Here, Kati became a chronicler of an era, leaving behind unique material..
The last 20 years of her life were dedicated, in addition to her work, to teaching photography at the Universidad Iberoamericana and the Academia de San Carlos (Univesidad Nacional Autónoma de México) where she forged a new generation of contemporary photographers.
The life and work of Kati Horna are relatively unknown. The exhibition seeks to create a conceptual, artistic and life map of her extensive production.
until 28 April 2014
Above – Robert Capa (attributed to), Kati Horna in Jòzsef Pécsi’s studio, 1932
Ode to Necrophilia (series), 1962
Winter in Paris, 1939
Remedios Varo, 1957
Flea market series, 1933
Hitler eye series, 1937
Kati Horna “Kati Horna” installation views at Museo Amparo, Puebla, 2014
Courtesy: Kati and Jose Horna Private Photography and Graphics Archive; Museo Amparo, Puebla.