Lourdes Grobet, Hora y media

Breaking through Frames

December 9, 2017
– By Sandra de la Loza

Throughout the run of Radical Women, we offer weekly gallery talks by artists, scholars, and writers who discuss specific works from the exhibition that inspire and provoke them. In the post below, Sandra de la Loza recaps her talk.

Through my wanderings of the exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985, the question "Where does the radical reside in Radical Women?" surfaces again and again. Is it within the act of curation itself? Is it in the exhibition's vision and scope, the research, the fleshing out of "a" history, the claiming of this space for women artists of the Americas within the white walls of the institution? Is it in the images, the embodied actions of the artists? Is it in the forms, the questions, the processes the pursuit? Does the radicality lay beyond the document, in that which does not make its way into the frames, does it reside in something nascent, an impetus, that which precedes language?

I tend to be skeptical of frames. The creation of the frame is always an act of power. In selecting, composing, building, there is always an omission, an editing out. There is always that which falls outside of the frame and that which is locked in.

Lourdes Grobet, Hora y media (Hour and a half), 1975. Photo performance: three black-and white photographs. 63 × 41 1⁄16 in. (160 × 105 cm) each. Courtesy of Lourdes Grobet
Hora y media (Hour and a half)

Given that skepticism, one work in particular resonates with me. In the photograph Hora y media (Hour and a half), 1975, we get a rare glimpse of the artist/photographer Lourdes Grobet in front of the camera. The camera documents a physical action, the artist breaking through a frame covered with tin foil, in three photographs. The first image, a tear in the foil membrane. In the second photo, a hand reaches through the ripped foil, beyond the bounds of the frame. In the third, the artist fully emerges. Both performance and metaphor, the artist enacts her subjectivity, breaking through the limits of the frame.