ADOLFO PATIÑO, A NIGHT OF IMAGERY
The image of Adolfo Patiño, Mexican photographer takes
me to the last years of the past century. In those
days he owned an art gallery “La Agencia” in Colonia
Roma in Mexico City. I went to see him and bought a
Frida Kahlo t-shirt that I still have.
It was not
until the symposium "Reflexión de la
Imagen"(Reflection of the Image) in 1991, where I was
invited by Alejandro Castellanos to talk about the
Mayo brothers, when I saw Adolfo Patiño again. I think
he had a relationship with Laura Anderson then. I
remeber him as witty,cheerful and active man. Was he
an artist-Photographer or a Photographer-Artist? I
thought he had a mind of his own.
A few years later,
Elisabeth Ferrer had begun the project A Shadow Born
of Heart. New Photograph in Mexico, 1995, with a
cover by Adolfo Patiño. A portrait of Afdolfo and
Armando, joined together by a heart. A proper collage.
Patiño was looking back to the European avant-garde.
Was he flirting with Dada? His artistic support oft
his work in those days includad B&W photos of Mexsican
indigenous people and color of the Modern Americans.
We could say that his work in painting terms was “well
cooked”. His series "Elementos para la navegación" (1991-92) is an autobiographic work. The photo as a
document, as introspection, as family protrait. But
also as a field for experimentation, for the
application of new techniques and renewal of
Elisabeth Ferrrer said so “his photography
becomes a way of spiritual exertion, a way of defining
values and one’s place in the world.
about “ones place in the world” seemed to be on the
middle-aged artist. His words to the newspaper “La
Jornada” seemed to confirm it: “I am at the threshold
of a rebirth, I was born in a moment of wolrd
decadence, since art no longer has a philosophical
meaning and is a commercial product, with no identity
due to globalization”.
I am sorry that because of his
loss of equilibrium, alone in his home he cannot be a
fellow of the National Artists Endowment , receive an “Honoris Causa” degree by UNAM, or see his retrspective at Museo Carrillo Gil.
It is frequent
that the independent artists cannot cope with academic
boundries of Art institutions.
I met Adolfo Patiño
again at the 10th anniversary party of Centro de la
Imagen, a celebration where both the high and low ends
of Mexican photo shared drinks at the same venue, a
generous night filled with flashlights, dancing, and
libido everywhere. An unforgettable night of young
phto masters celebratin their success and
photojournalists selling low priced signed copies to
get the cab- fare to get back home.
I went to the
library to look for a catalog of his work or to see if
he was in the Rio de luz collection or a small place
in the Litografica Turmex collection, but did not find
his name amongst the great masters of Mexican
An American colletor might have bought
his work , or his work could be found at the Alvarez
Bravo phototheque or at Centro de la Imagen. Oh That
elusive Eternity! A deep revision of the contribution
of this untamed artist is in order . He passed away
with no warning -Death makes no invitaions, it just
takes you away- at the prime of his life, he had a
mature work, clear ideas and a great will to live.
In this script that this life of ours is, we forget
thet the future is a blank page in which the random
lights and shadows are written down.
It is now the
turn of Mexican art curators to be generous with the
work of Adolfo Patiño.