Unmasking Mythologies: Lourdes Grobet's Lucha Libre Photography
The content of this thesis is devoted to the critical analysis of Lourdes Grobet's photography series, Family Portraits (1980-2002). This series, published in two editions and exhibited internationally, is the aestheticized documentation of various luchadores in their homes and other private spaces. By showing the Mexican wrestler in these spaces, Grobet and her photography facilitate the exchange of intimate, normally unseen information between the subject and the viewer while also making a spectacle out of the home. The scenes in which the wrestlers sit for their portrait are diverse; many are placed in domestic scenes and with their families. Surrounded by their family members, familiar household decor, and lucha libre paraphernalia, these portraits reveal the interior worlds of the very public figures in Mexican popular culture.
Notions of collective imagination, mythology, history, culture, and gender, elements on which lucha libre depends, also perform within these portraits, and offer an introspective and reflective demonstration of larger cultural trends. This thesis explores how lucha libre represents many things; it is a cultural phenomenon and a product of the mixing of old and new cultural values both within Mexico and beyond. Grobet employs the narratives of numerous pre-established Mexican mythologies in an effort to construct a new representation of the Mexican identity. By doing this, the artist responds to and critiques dated or misrepresented icons of Mexico and its people and introduces the luchador, as a contemporary urban figure that demands to be acknowledged through her photography.