Lourdes Grobet

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Lourdes Grobet
Grobet in 2018
Born(1940-07-25)25 July 1940
México City, Mexico
Died15 July 2022(2022-07-15) (aged 81)
México City, Mexico
Known forDocumenting the lucha libre

Lourdes Grobet Argüelles (25 July 1940 – 15 July 2022)[1] was a Mexican contemporary photographer, known for her photographs of Mexican lucha libre wrestlers.[2][3]

Grobet spent some time as a painter before focussing on photography.[4] Her photography led her to explore lucha libre, and she spent a lot of time getting to know the luchadores (wrestlers). Grobet did some theatre and video, and published several books. Grobet's work has been the subject of numerous exhibitions, and she received many grants and awards for her work.[5][6]

Early life[edit]

Grobet was born in México City,[4] where she grew up with her parents. Grobet took a formal painting class at the Academy of San Carlos. Her parents did not like the views of the school and sent her to work under a Catholic professor named José Suárez Olvera, who painted murals for the Church of San Francisco.[1] She did not care for his work much because she felt it lacked originality. Grobet asked herself what art is: “Looking around, and after asking myself the inevitable questions about what art is, it became clear that for me it was a language, a way of saying things, and so I had to find the best way of saying them.”[7]


Grobet studied plastic arts at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico and graphic design and photography in Britain at the Cardiff College of Art[4] and Derby College for Higher Education.[8] She was very moved by her professor Mathias Goeritz, from whom she learned that mass media showed a new way of expression. When Goeritz gave up teaching, he asked Grobet to be his assistant while he worked on stained glassed windows for the México City Cathedral. She studied in England in 1977 and did a few landscape paintings. She ended up failing, however, because the photography faculty did not like that she altered the landscape and strayed away from keeping it purely documentary.[citation needed]


Kati Horna introduced Grobet to the world of photography, though the main influences in her early career were Mathias Goeritz, Gilberto Aceves Navarro, El Santo and others.[7]

Grobet studied as a painter in Mexico for some time and then took a trip to Paris in 1968; it changed her life and the way that she viewed the art world.[9]

While she was in Paris, Grobet visited many art galleries and discovered kinetic art;[1] because of this, she liked working with multimedia. She spent some time working at a jazz concert, controlling lighting and kinetic projections. When Grobet returned to Mexico, she decided that she wanted to focus on photography; after she got back home, she decided to burn all of her old work and start over.[7]

In 1981 Grobet released her first set of photographs. At the beginning of her career in photography, she was part of a group called Consejo Mexicano de Fotografía (Mexican Council of Photography),[10] formed by Pedro Meyer in 1977.[11] With her participation in this group, she was able to revitalize photography in Mexico,[citation needed] which led to a movement called the Grupos. Grobet was focused on establishing a community-based perspective.[12]

Grobet spent some time with indigenous people during a time of great struggle for them. She took the time to learn more about them and photograph them in a theatrical way. She wanted to relate to indigenous people using her artistic initiative, so they made costumes and scenery of their own and she then took their photos. Later on, Grobet took interest in the Mayan culture. Wanting to learn more about the Mayans she went to the suburbs; while this was not a common thing to do, she wanted to steer clear of any tourists. She wanted to get accurate information about the people she documented and explore an area less traveled. She discovered temples that were made by an unknown civilization and she decided they were to be called the Olmayazetec.

After her education and her travels, Grobet came back to México City. She once again started to explore her childhood interest of luchadores.[7] She found that there was very little information pertaining to the luchadores, and so she decided that she wanted to make them more known to the world.[13]

Grobet spent thirty years devoted to taking pictures of the luchadores and studying their way of life.[2][14] She spent time photographing lucha libre wrestlers inside and outside of the ring, both in their masks, but also in their own homes. Grobet wanted to show that they lived normal lives, just like everyone else. She got very close with well known Lucha Libre wrestlers such as: El Santo, Blue Demon, Mil Mascaras, Sagrada, Octagon, Misioneros de la Muerte, Los Perros del Mal, and Los Brazos.[15] Influenced greatly by Mathias Goeritz, the Polish sculptor from Gdańsk, and by Gilberto Aceves Navarro, a Mexican master of art murals, who were her teachers, Grobet worked on pictures of El Santo, one of the most important Mexican wrestlers, and a hero of lucha libre who starred in more than 50 films. Since 1975, she has published more than 11,000 photographs of the sport, including those on the sport in the United States since the 1930s, and as an important part of Mexican popular culture, adopting a sociological attitude. The sport involves many costumes and masks, leading it to a sport-carnival air which is much appreciated by Mexicans.

She also ventured into cinema. In her 2013 movie Bering. Balance and Resistance, Grobet questions the political separation between the Big Diomede Island (Russia) and the Little Diomede Island (USA) in the Bering Strait, a border between the United States and Russia. Showing the consequences of the separation between both Islands. After the American-Soviet conflict of the 21st century, the Beringia region was divided in two, which caused the separation of complete Nanook families and also, paradoxically, separated the place where the first human beings that populated the American continent crossed.

Grobet has had over one hundred exhibitions of her photographs, both group and solo exhibitions. She had her work exhibited at the London Mexfest festival in 2012. She won an award at the Second Biennal in Fine Art Photography. In 1975, for the exhibition Hora y media, she transformed a gallery into a photographic laboratory. She developed the photographs, but without fixing them, and displayed them on three walls. While the public looked at the photographs, the lights from the gallery made it look like they disappeared.

In 1977, Grobet presented Travelling, an exhibition of photography on an escalator. Among her other works were Paisajes pintados, Teatro campesino, Strip Tease.

Personal life[edit]

Grobet married Xavier Perez Barba in 1962 and they had four children together. They divorced in 1974.[7]


Grobet died on 15 July 2022 in México City.[16]

Work and process[edit]

As Grobet was taking her photographs, she desired to understand reality better. According to Grobet, and as noted in her 2005 book Lourdes Grobet,[17] "she has used this photographic experience as an inductive process in order to understand or 'live' reality (or realities) rather than illustrate certain preconceived ideas. She is not scared to employ different (sometimes contradictory) languages available to her to speak of her particular experience and standpoint, thus sacrificing formal purism. In her own way, Grobet manages to use photography to relate to herself, to relate to us and to take action in the problematic reality that is Mexico."[17]

Some of Grobet's work was collaborative, while others she liked to do on her own time.[12] When photographing the luchadores she wanted to show their tough side, but she also wanted to show their fragile side as well. Grobet wanted to uncover the roots of the lucha libre. She wanted to show that the lucha libre is important to the culture of Mexico, with links back to the time of the Aztecs. Grobet found that there was not much information about these fascinating luchadores.[13] She wanted the luchadores to get the recognition they deserve as some of Mexico's important cultural figures.[13]


Solo exhibitions[edit]

Year Location Venue Title Notes Ref
1970 México City, Mexico Galería Misrachi Serendípiti [6][4]
1974 Casa del Lago A La Mesa [6][4]
1975 Hora y Media [6][4]
1977 Derby, England Travelling Exhibition Derby-México City [6]
1977-1991 Paisajes Pintados [6]
1980, 1982, 1985, 1991 Lucha Libre México City-Chicago-Havana-Amsterdam [6]
1983 México City, Mexico Museo Universitario del Chopo 53 Cuadros [6][21]
1988 Café la Gloria Los Manteles de Septiembre [6]
1990 Gilardi Gallery Neo-Olmayaztec [6]
1992 ¿De qué conquista hablamos? México City-Quito [6]
1995 Erfurt, Germany La Máscara en la Cultura Mexicana [6]
1996 Banff, Canada Banff Centre for the Arts Pop, Mass and Sub-culture [6]
México City, Mexico Centro de la Imagen La Filomena [4]
1997 Oaxaca City, Mexico Centro Fotográfico Álvarez Bravo Tres Caídas [6]
2000 México City, Mexico Ex-Teresa Prometeo Unisex Video installation [6]
Tijuana, Mexico Tijuana Cultural Center Lucha Libre [6]
2005 Alicante, Spain Alicante University Paisajes Pintados
New York City, USA Black Party
Bruce Silverstein Gallery Lourdes Grobet: Retrospective [22]
2006 México City, Mexico Three subway stations Lucha Libre
2007 Madrid, Spain Foto España
2008 Paris, France Musée du Quai Branly Upside Down Les Artiques
México City, Mexico Mexican Social Security Institute La Mano Negra
2009 Museo Archivo de la Fotografía Equilibrium & Resistance
2010 Galería Metropolitana
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia National Museum of Art Espectacular de Lucha Libre
2012 Nîmes, France NegPos Centre d’Art et de Photographie El nuevo hombre de Bering [4]
2013 Miami, USA Mexican Consulate Wrestling
2015 Barcelona, Spain Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona [23]

Theatre, film, and video[edit]

Year Location Venue Type Title Notes Ref
1978-1992 Theatre Theatre collaborations with Susana Alexander [5]
1983-1984 México City, Mexico Casa del Lago Performance De Mugir a Mujer
1986-2001 Mexico Photographs For Teatro Campesino e Indígena theatre group
1990 Great Britain Film Lucha Libre BBC London
1992 France Interview
1995-2000 Mexico Videos For Teatro Campesino e Indígena theatre group
1996 México City, Mexico Centro de la Imagen Luz y Fer
2000 ExTeresa Arte Actual Prometheus Unisex
2000-2009 México City, Mexico Museo Archivo de la Fotografía Frontier
Paris, France Musée du Quai Branly Prometheus Unisex
2001 Brazil Video Biennal Video Frontier
2002 New York City, USA 36th New York Expo Film and video
2003 México City, Mexico Museo de Arte Moderno As-Is
2005 Alicante, Spain University of Alicante Grobet Witch Project
2006 México City, Mexico Luboulos on Line
2008-2009 Museo Archivo de la Fotografía Fluxus
Paris, France Musée du Quai Branly
2009-2010 México City, Mexico Museo Archivo de la Fotografía Interactiv, Images of BeringStrait
2010 Mexico On Human Scale Work of sculptor Helen Escobedo
2011 Hear the Silence
2012 Nîmes, France NegPos Centre d’Art et de Photographie The New Man of Bering
2013 Bering Strait Documentary Equilibrium & Resistance



  • 1982: Se Escoge el Tiempo. Los Talleres, México City.
  • 1984: Luciérnagas (a published collection of loose photographs). E.N.A.P. México City.
  • 1987: Bodas de Sangre. Tabasco County Government.
  • 1996: Santo y Seña de los Recintos Históricos de la Universidad de México. ISBN 968-36-4630-1.
  • 2005: Lourdes Grobet. Turner Publicaciones, Spain. ISBN 84-7506-620-8.
  • 2005: Lucha Libre: Masked Superstars of Mexican Wrestling. ISBN 1-933045-05-1.
  • 2007: Retratos de Familia. Reverté Editores, Mexico/Spain. ISBN 6077515051.
  • 2008: Espectacular de Lucha Libre. Trilce Editions, México City. ISBN 968-9044-16-8.
  • 2008: Lucha Libre Mexicana (with Gabriel Rodríguez) ISBN 968-9044-17-6


  1. ^ a b c Documental, 3 March 2020 |; Experimental; México; Mujer (3 March 2020). "Lourdes Grobet". Cada día un fotógrafo (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 29 May 2020. Retrieved 12 May 2020.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b "Lourdes Grobet Biography :: PicassoMio". PicassoMio. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  3. ^ Gonzalez, David (9 April 2018). "Who Was That Masked Man? A Wrestling Priest". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Lourdes Grobet | Hammer Museum". hammer.ucla.edu. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  5. ^ a b c "CV Lourdes Grobet". Lourdes Grobet. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa Lourdes Grobet. Madrid: Turner. 2005. pp. 502–505. ISBN 8475066208.
  7. ^ a b c d e Abelleyra, Angélica (2005). "A Life Without Masks. An Interview with Lourdes Grobet". In Grobet, Lourdes (ed.). Lourdes Grobet. pp. 492–501. ISBN 8475066208.
  8. ^ "Lourdes Grobet :: Guest Artists". Lourdes Grobet :: Guest Artists. Retrieved 12 January 2023.
  9. ^ "Lourdes Grobet – Exhibitions". Bruce Silverstein. 8 October 2005. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Colección Consejo Mexicano de Fotografía – Fototeca Nacional". Mediateca – Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (in Spanish). Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Pedro Meyer". A Photo Teacher |. 6 July 2007. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Lourdes Grobet. Photography and environment". Lourdes Grobet. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b c Jacques, Adam (12 August 2012). "Portfolio: Lourdes Grobet". The Independent. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  14. ^ Jacques, Adam (12 August 2012). "Portfolio: Lourdes Grobet". The Independent. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  15. ^ Vroons, Erik (21 March 2012). "Lourdes Grobet: Behind the Mask". GUP. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Muere la fotógrafa mexicana Lourdes Grobet". El Universal. 15 July 2022.
  17. ^ a b Grobet, Loudes (2005). Lourdes Grobet (1. ed.). Madrid: Turner. p. 54. ISBN 84-7506-620-8. OCLC 59354430.
  18. ^ "Visual Artists – Yaddo". www.yaddo.org. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  19. ^ a b "Lourdes Grobet". MacDowell Colony. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  20. ^ "Annual Report – 2003 – The Rockefeller Foundation" (PDF). Rockefeller Foundation. 1 January 2003.
  21. ^ "exposiciones". www.chopo.unam.mx. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  22. ^ "Lourdes Grobet – Exhibitions – Bruce Silverstein". www.brucesilverstein.com. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  23. ^ "Mexican Lucha Libre Wrestling: family portraits. Photographs by Lourdes Grobet | Barcelona guide". www.webarcelona.net. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  24. ^ "Brooklyn Museum". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  25. ^ "Lourdes Grobet". The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  26. ^ "Tinieblas, Alushe y Tinieblas Jr". SFMOMA. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  27. ^ "Exhibition exploring Mexican lucha libre opens at the Museum of Latin American Art". artdaily.cc. Retrieved 15 May 2020.


Derbez, Eréndira. ‘We Are Divided by Imaginaries Lines. La Fotografía y Los Mapas En Bering. Equilibrio y Resistencia, de Lourdes Grobet’. El Ojo Que Piensa. Revista de Cine Iberoamericano 20 (June 2020). http://elojoquepiensa.cucsh.udg.mx/index.php/elojoquepiensa/article/view/320.

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