Cannon Bernaldez - Untitled (Diablo)

Untitled (Diablo), Digital color print, 34 x 49 in.

Cannon Bernáldez

Guest curated by Jesse Lerner, Pitzer College professor of media studies
September 10–December 9, 2016

Opening Reception:
Thursday, September 8, 5-7 p.m.
Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Atherton Hall

Exhibition walk-through with curator Jesse Lerner
Wednesday, November 16 at 11 a.m.
The Lenzner Family Art Gallery, Atherton Hall

In this exhibition, Mexico City-based artist Cannon Bernáldez brings together selections from three series of works in her first mid-career survey. Although trained in photojournalism and documentary practices, Bernáldez’s work over the past decade has moved towards the production of constructed images staged for the camera. These three bodies of work—Miedos (Fears, 2004-08), El Diablo anda Suelta (The Devil on the Loose, 2007) and Hermanas (Sisters, 2011-14)—comprise a series of visual essays that poetically reflect upon the physical and psychological effects of a violent culture. In the series Miedos, Bernáldez stages her own death; in El Diablo anda Suelta, faux blood splatter and forensic equipment evoke the aftermath of violent crimes; and in Hermanas, Bernáldez references the nineteenth-century tradition of photographing dead babies as if they were alive.

Much of Bernáldez’s recent work reflects the climate of violence that has taken over Mexico, the country in which she was born and works. The pervasive brutality and culture of fear, amplified by the federal government’s attempts to eliminate the criminal organizations involved in the cultivation and export of illegal drugs (as well as kidnapping, murder and extortion), is one of Bernáldez’s enduring themes. She also incorporates elements of autobiography and reflects upon the fragility of the human body, the role of re-creations within the documentary tradition, and the medium and history of photography.

About the Artist

Untitled (Miedos, 2007), black and white silver gelatin print
Untitled (Miedos) (2007), Black and white silver gelatin print, 4.25 x 4.25 in.

Cannon Bernáldez is a photographer based in Mexico City, where she runs the Literna Mágica studio.  She has exhibited at galleries and cultural centers in Latin America, the United States, Russia and France. Her solo exhibitions include shows at the Nacho López Gallery of Mexico’s National Photography Archive (2005); the Images du Pole in Orléans, France (2004); and the Alliance Française Gallery in Mexico City (2003). Her work is included in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; the Zoellner Arts Center at Lehigh University; and, in Mexico City, at the Centro de la Imagen, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, the Museo Universitario del Chopo and Fundación Cultural Televisa.  Winner of the 12th Mexican Biennial of Photography in 2006, Bernáldez has received two Young Creators scholarships from Mexico’s National Arts and Culture Endowment. Her other awards include honorable mention at the Visual Arts National Biennial, Merida (2002), the Omnilife Cultural Foundation Award (honorable mention, 2001), the Fernando Benítez National Award of Journalism and Culture (2001) and the Body and Fruit Photographic Contest (2000).

About the Curator

Jesse Lerner is a filmmaker, curator and scholar based in Los Angeles. His short films Natives (1991, with Scott Sterling), T.S.H. (2004) and Magnavoz (2006) and the feature-length experimental documentaries Frontierland/Fronterilandia (1995, with Rubén Ortiz-Torres), Ruins (1999), The American Egypt (2001), Atomic Sublime (2010) and The Absent Stone (2013, with Sandra Rozental) have won numerous prizes at film festivals in the United States, Latin America and Japan, and have screened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery in Washington DC, and the Sundance, Rotterdam and Los Angeles film festivals. His films were featured in mid-career surveys at New York’s Anthology Film Archives and Mexico’s Cineteca Nacional. He has curated projects and exhibitions for Mexico’s Palacio Nacional de Bellas Artes, the Guggenheim Museums in New York and Bilbao, and the Robert Flaherty Seminar. His books include The Shock of Modernity, F is for Phony: Fake Documentary and Truth’s Undoing (with Alexandra Juhasz), and The Maya of Modernism. Jesse Lerner is a professor of media studies at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA.