Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art Home


Document first page thumbnail
  • ICAA Record ID
    Documentos : Tres décadas de fotografía en el Perú
    Documentos : tres décadas de fotografía en el Perú, 1960-1990. -- Lima, Peru : Museo de Arte de Lima - MALI, 1997
    p. 14-31 : ill.
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    Majluf, Natalia, Villacorta, Jorge. "Documentos: Tres décadas de fotografía en el Perú." In Documentos: tres décadas de fotografía en el Perú, 1960-1990, 14-31. Lima, Peru: Museo de Arte de Lima - MALI, 1997.
    Casals, José, 1931-; Chambi, Martín, 1891-1973; Chambi, Victor, 1917-; Figueroa Aznar, Juan Manuel, 1878-1951; Garreaud, Fernando, 1869-1929; Hare, Billy, 1946-; Museo de Arte de Lima
    Villacorta, Jorge, 1958-

The authors’ curatorial approach is based on the idea of photography as a “document” rather than on its contextual specificity “over the last thirty years in which photography has enjoyed unprecedented worldwide success and our country has experienced profound change.” They discuss the challenges involved in establishing a “local” photography tradition, and then describe the genre’s historical role in the Andean region of southern Peru during the first half of the twentieth century. They explain that there was an increase in photographic activity in Lima in the middle of the century due to the influx of foreign professionals. They also underscore the institutional importance of the Foto Galería Secuencia (1977–80) and its contribution to the rise of artistic photography in contemporary times. They refer to a series of main themes: “La ciudad emergente,” “La religiosidad popular y la cultura andina,” “El eje documental,” “La historia en el paisaje,” “Proyectos: el sujeto,” and “La fotografía sobre/desde la fotografía.” In closing they hew to the concept of an “interrupted tradition” that avoids both a homogenous portrayal of the country and discussions of a unitary history.


In this curatorial essay Jorge Villacorta (Lima, b. 1958) and Natalia Majluf (Lima, b. 1967) review the history of Peruvian photography from the 1960s to the 1990s. The catalogue was published for Documentos. 1960–1990. Tres décadas de fotografía en el Perú, the exhibition curated by Natalia Majluf and Jorge Villacorta at the MALI (Museo de Arte de Lima, October–December 1997). Both the exhibition and the catalogue present a first-ever overview of recent Peruvian photography that includes the latest exponents of the south Andean tradition—Víctor Chambi (1917–85) and Eulogio Nishiyama (1920–96)—as well as members of the influential Lima generation such as Billy Hare, Fernando La Rosa, and Javier Silva, and foreigners such as the Chilean photographer José Casals (1931–91) and the Spaniard Baldomero Pestana (1918–2015), among others. This exhibition provided the incentive to create the collection of contemporary photography at the MALI, which is unquestionably the most important one in the country. 


Jorge Villacorta is a well-known freelance Peruvian art critic and curator, who graduated with a degree in genetics from the University of York in Great Britain. In addition to his scientific activities, he has also worked as a researcher in the field of contemporary Peruvian visual arts.


Natalia Majluf is an art historian who earned a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. She was curator-in-chief at MALI and is now the museum’s director. She has produced exhibitions and has published essays on nineteenth- and twentieth-century Peruvian and Latin American art.


[As complementary reading on the subject of Peruvian photography, see the following articles in the ICAA digital archive: by Óscar Cerruto “De la fotografía como función estética: En torno al artista cusqueño Martín Chambi” (doc. no. 1136726); by José Uriel García “Martín Chambi, artista neoindígena” (doc. no. 1136759); and by Mario Montalbetti “Sobre fotografía peruana actual: posibilidades de superar una depresión” (doc. no. 1139634)].

Daniel Contreras M.
Museo de Arte de Lima, Lima, Peru
Courtesy of Natalia Majluf, Lima, Peru