Tina MODOTTI, Hands of marionette player, Mexico Enlarge 1 /1


Italy 1896 – Mexico City, Mexico 1942

  • United States of America from 1913
  • Mexico from 1922

Hands of marionette player, Mexico 1926 Place made: Mexico
Materials & Technique: photographs, gelatin silver photograph

Primary Insc: 23.1 x 13.7 cm
Dimensions: image 23.1 h x 13.7 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1987
Accession No: NGA 87.100

During the Mexican revolutionary movement in the 1920s, Modotti photographed the delicate, sensitive hands of the young puppeteer Lou Bunin pulling the strings of a marionette. An apprentice to the muralist, Diego Rivera, Bunin, like Modotti, was a leftist, and both were aware of the power of theatre puppetry as an effective vehicle for conveying a political and social narrative. The enigmatic nature of the marionette figure allowed Modotti to make political photography at a time when it was dangerous to do so in Mexico.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra