Lourdes Grobet

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Lourdes Grobet
Lourdes Grobet.jpg
Lourdes Grobet in 2018
Born(1940-07-25)July 25, 1940
Mexico City, Mexico
Known forDocumenting the Lucha Libre

Lourdes Grobet Argüelles (born 25 July 1940)[1] is a contemporary Mexican 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 has done some theatre and video, and has published several books. Grobet has had quite a lot of exhibitions, and has received many grants and awards for her work.[5][citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Grobet was born in Mexico 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.”[6]


Lourdes Grobet studied plastic arts at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico and graphic design and photography in Britain at Cardiff College of Art and Derby College for Higher Education.[4] 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 Mexico City Cathedral. She studied in England in 1977 and had done 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]


Katy 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.[6]

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.[7]

While she was in Paris she visited a lot of art galleries and discovered Kinetic Art[1] and because of this, she likes to work with Multi-Media. She spent some time working with 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.[6]

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),[8] formed by Pedro Meyer in 1977.[9] With her participation in this group, she was able to revitalize photography in Mexico,[citation needed] which lead to a movement called the Grupos. Grobet was focused on establishing a community-based perspective.[10]

Grobet spent some time with Indigenous people and 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 had 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, this was a less common action, but she wanted to steer clear of any tourists. She wanted to get accurate information 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, she came back to Mexico. She once again started to explore her childhood interest of luchadores.[6] 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.[11]

Grobet spent thirty years devoted to taking pictures of the luchadores and studying their way of life.[2][12] 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.[13] Much influenced by Mathias Goeritz, the Polish sculptor from Gdańsk and by Gilberto Aceves Navarro, a Mexican master of art murals, who were her teachers, Lourdes 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.

Grobet has had over one hundred exhibitions of her photographs, both group and solo exhibitions. She had her work exhibited in 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 meant that they disappeared.

In 1977, she presented Travelling, an exhibition of photography on an escalator. Among other works, she took: 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.[6]

Work and process[edit]

As Grobet is making her photographs, she desires to understand reality better. According to Grobet, and as noted in her 2004 book Lourdes Grobet: On the Eye’s Edge[14], “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.” [14]

Some of the work that she does is collaborative, while others, she likes to do on her own time.[10] When photographing the luchadores she wants to show their tough side, but she also wants to show the fragile side as well. Grobet wants to uncover the roots of the Lucha Libre. She wants to show that the Lucha Libre is important to the culture of Mexico and that they are meant to be related back to the time of the Aztecs. Grobet found that there was not much information found about these fascinating Luchadores.[11] She wants the luchadores to get the recognition they deserve as Mexico's important cultural figure.[11]


  • FONCA grant. Mexico 2010 – 11 Mexico
  • Macdowell Residency, U.S.A. 2007[15]
  • FONCA grant. 2005-2006
  • Bellagio Residency, Italy. 2003[16]
  • MacDowell Residency, U.S.A. 2002[15]
  • Yaddo Residency, U.S.A. 2001[17]
  • Grant, Sistema Nacional de Creadores, Mexican Cultural Institute, Mexico, 1999–2001
  • Banff Centre for the Arts, Residency Canada, 1996
  • Grant, Sistema Nacional de Creadores, Mexican Cultural Institute, Mexico, 1995–1998
  • International Award, Latin American Emancipation and Identity 1492–1992, contest, Quito Ecuador 1992
  • Best Monument Award for commemoration of XX Anniversary of Tlatelolco massacre
  • With the group Proceso Pentagono, Mexico 1988
  • Best Book Award, Juan Pablos Editions, Mexico, 1988
  • Award “Libro Propositivo”, Mexico 1984
  • Photographic Biennal award, Mexico 1982[5]


Solo exhibitions[edit]

2015 Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain[18]

2013 "Wrestling" Méxican consulate, Miami, FL, USA

2012 El nuevo hombre de Bering (The New Man of Bering), NegPos, Nîmes, France[4]

2010 "Equilibrium & Resistance" Gallery UAM Mexico City

2010 "Espectacular de Lucha Libre"/National Museum of Art, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

2009 "Equilibrium & Resistance/Museo Archivo de la Fotografía, Mexico City

2008 "La Mano Negra" / IMSS. México

2008 "Upside Down Les Artiques"/ Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France

2007 " Lucha libre" / Foto España. Madrid, Spain

2006 "Lucha libre" / three subway stations. México D.F.

2005 Lourdes Grobet: Retrospective, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York[19]

2005 "Black Party" / New York, USA

2005 "Painted Landscapes"/ Alicante University, Spain

2000 "Lucha Libre" / Centro Cultural Tijuana, Tijuana, Mexico

2000 "Prometheus Unisex installation / Ex-Teresa, Mexico City

1988 "Manteles de Septiembre" / Café la Gloria, Mexico City

1997 "Tres Caidas / Centro Alvarez Bravo, Oaxaca, Mexico

1996 "Pop, Mass and Sub-culture / Banff Centre for the Arts, Canada

1996 "La Filomena" / Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City[4]

1995 "The Mask in Mexican Culture / Erfurt, Germany

1992 "Which Conquest are we Talking About?"/ Mexico City and Quito, Ecuador

1990 "Neo-Olmayaztec"/, Gilardi gallery, Mexico City

1983 53 cuadras, Museo del Chopo, Mexico City[20]

1980 82-85-91 / "Lucha Libre"/, Mexico City-Chicago-Havana-Amsterdam

1977-1991 "Painted Landscapes" / Derby, Great Britain-Mexico City

1977 "Travelling Exhibition" / Derby, Great Britain

1975 Hora y media (Hour and a half) / Casa del Lago, Mexico City[4]

1973 A la mesa (To the table) / Casa del Lago, Mexico City[4]

1970 Serendípiti (Serendipity) / Galería Misrachi, Mexico City[4]

Group exhibitions[edit]

2013 "Painted Landscapes"/ Photographic Biennial Bogotá, Colombia

2012 "London MexFest"/ Rich Mix, London, Great Britain

2012 "Photography in Mexico" / SFMOMA., USA

2012 "Women behind the camera"/ Arosena Museum, Coahuila, Mexico

2012 3 Color" (Mexican photography) Hungary

2011 "3 Color" (Mexican photography) Turkey

2011 "Ethics and Obscenity"/ Quiñonera gallery Mexico City

2011 "Women behind the camera"/ Tijuana Mexico

2011 "Mexican worlds"/ Inst. Mexico, Spain

2011 "Neomexicanismos"/ Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City

2008 "Mexican Women Artist, XX Century"/ Monterrey, Mexico

2007 International Photo Festival, Pingyao China

2007 "The End is Nigh" / Higher Pictures, New York, USA

2007 "La Era de la Discrepancia"/, University Museum. México

2007 "Cocei". Centro Alvarez Bravo, Oaxaca, México

2005 "Estrategia que Muta"/, Xanon Gallery, Madrid, Spain

2003 "Aparentemente Sublime"/ Bancomer Salon, Mexico City

2003 "Lucha Libre"/ . Centro Historico Festival, Mexico City

2002 "Color Surfaces"/. Berlín, Germany

2002 "ABCDF"/ Palace of Fine Arts, Mexico City

2001 "Urban Pornography"/, New York, U.S.A.

2001 "Zoología sobre Gelatina"/, several cities of México

2001 "Con Ojeras de Mujer"/, México, Cuba, Spain

1999-2000 "Visual Voices of Mexico" / Long Beach, CA, Washington, D.C., Tijuana, Mexico

1998 "Fotonovela" / Camerawork, San Francisco, CA, USA

1997-99 "Cofradía de Luz" / several cities of Mexico

1996 "Vision/Revision" / Evenston, IL, USA

1996 "Con Ojos de Mujer" / Beijing, China

1994 "A Shadow Born of Earth" / San Diego, CA, Oklahoma, and other cities of the US

1994-1981 Work showed at I-II-III-IV- V Havana Biennal, Havana, Cuba

1993 "Europalia" / Brussels, Belgium

1992-1993 Work showed / at 53rd and 54th International Salons, Tokyo, Japan

1991 Participation / at Tenerife International Biennal Canarias, Spain

1990 "Stapling the Frontier" / across the 3000 km. Mexico-US border

1990 "Compañeras de México" / Riverside, CA and other cities of the US

1987 "Mexican Women Photographers" / New York, USA

1979-1981 Participation / Coloquio mexicano de Fotografía, Mexico City

1979 "Mexican Photography" / Sweden, Germany, France and other European countries[5]

Theatre, film, and video[edit]

2013 "Equilibrium & Resistance, bering Strait. documentary

2012 "The New man of Bering" NegPos gallery, Nîmes France

2011 "Hear the silence"/ work of sculptor Helen Escobedo. México

2010 "On Human Scale"/ work of sculptor Helen Escobedo. México

2009-10 "Interactiv, Images of BeringStrait" / MAF. México

2008-09 Frontier/ Musée du Quai Branly, Paris France. Museo Archivo de la Fotografia Mexico City

2008-09 Fluxus/ Musée du Quai Branly, Paris France. Museo Archivo de la Fotografia

2006 "Lobulos on Line"/ Mexico City

2005 "Grobet Witch Project"/. Alicante University Spain

2003 "As-Is"/, Museum of Modern Art, Mexico city.

2002 "Prometheus Unisex"36th New York Expo. Film and video. New York. USA

2001 "Prometheus Unisex" / Video Biennal Brazil

2000 "Prometheus Unisex" / ExTeresa Arte Actual, Mexico City

2000–1995, videos for Teatro Campesino e Indigena, theatre group, Mexico

1996 "Luz y Fer " / Centro de la Imagen, México City

1992 "Lucha Libre" / interview for French Television

1990 "Lucha Libre"/ film for BBC London Great Britain

1986–2001, photographs for Teatro Campesino e Indígena, theatre group, Mexico

1983-84 "De Mugir a Mujer / performance, Casa del Lago, Mexico City

1978-1992 Theatre collaborations with Susana Alexander[5]


Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY[21]

Fundación Cultural Televisa[4]

Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico[4]

Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, TX[4]

Musée du Quai Branly, Paris, France[4]

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX[22]

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA[23]

Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA[24]


  • Se Escoge el Tiempo (1983). Los Talleres, Mexico City.
  • Luciérnagas (1984) (a published collection of loose photographs). E.N.A.P. Mexico City.
  • Bodas de Sangre (1987). Tabasco County Government.
  • Santo y Seña de los Recintos Históricos de la Universidad de México (1996). ISBN 968-36-4630-1.
  • Lourdes Grobet (2004). Turner Editions, Spain. ISBN 84-7506-620-8.
  • Lucha Libre: Masked Superstars of Mexican Wrestling (2005). ISBN 1-933045-05-1.
  • Retratos de Familia (2007). Reverté Editores, Mexico/Spain. ISBN 6077515051.
  • Espectacular de Lucha Libre (2008). Trilce Editions, Mexico City. ISBN 968-9044-16-8.
  • Lucha Libre Mexicana (with Gabriel Rodríguez) (2008) ISBN 968-9044-17-6


  1. ^ a b c Documental, 3 Mar 2020 |; Experimental; México; Mujer (2020-03-03). "Lourdes Grobet". Cada día un fotógrafo (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  2. ^ a b "Lourdes Grobet Biography :: PicassoMio". PicassoMio. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  3. ^ Gonzalez, David (2018-04-09). "Who Was That Masked Man? A Wrestling Priest". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Lourdes Grobet | Hammer Museum". hammer.ucla.edu. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  5. ^ a b c d "CV Lourdes Grobet". Lourdes Grobet. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ "Lourdes Grobet - Exhibitions". Bruce Silverstein. 2005-10-08. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  8. ^ "Colección Consejo Mexicano de Fotografía - Fototeca Nacional". Mediateca - Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  9. ^ "Pedro Meyer". A Photo Teacher |. 2007-07-06. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  10. ^ a b "Lourdes Grobet. Photography and environment". Lourdes Grobet. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  11. ^ a b c Jacques, Adam (2012-08-12). "Portfolio: Lourdes Grobet". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  12. ^ Jacques, Adam (2012-08-12). "Portfolio: Lourdes Grobet". The Independent. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
  13. ^ Vroons, Erik (2012-03-21). "Lourdes Grobet: Behind the Mask". GUP. Retrieved 2018-05-12.
  14. ^ a b Grobet, Loudes (2004). Lourdes Grobet: On the Eye's Edge (1. ed.). Madrid: Turner. p. 54. ISBN 84-7506-620-8. OCLC 59354430.
  15. ^ a b "Lourdes Grobet". MacDowell Colony. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  16. ^ "Annual Report - 2003 - The Rockefeller Foundation" (PDF). Rockefeller Foundation. 2003-01-01.
  17. ^ "Visual Artists – Yaddo". www.yaddo.org. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  18. ^ "Mexican Lucha Libre Wrestling: family portraits. Photographs by Lourdes Grobet | Barcelona guide". www.webarcelona.net. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  19. ^ "Lourdes Grobet - Exhibitions - Bruce Silverstein". www.brucesilverstein.com. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  20. ^ "exposiciones". www.chopo.unam.mx. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  21. ^ "Brooklyn Museum". Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  22. ^ "Lourdes Grobet". The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  23. ^ "Tinieblas, Alushe y Tinieblas Jr". SFMOMA. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  24. ^ "Exhibition exploring Mexican lucha libre opens at the Museum of Latin American Art". artdaily.cc. Retrieved 2020-05-15.

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