The production services company scouts vintage-chic 18th century villa for the legendary photographer’s ‘WOMEN: New Portraits’ Exhibition
Mexico City is the latest location to hold world-renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz’s current exhibition, ‘WOMEN: New Portraits’. Mexico-based production company Habitant were tasked with finding both the location and producing for Leibovitz’s project. The production team drew on its extensive experience and thorough knowledge of Mexico City to unearth the perfect setting: an enormous, gutted 18th century listed villa in the heart of the city’s historic old town.
The exhibition, ‘WOMEN: New Portraits’, is a continuation of Leibovitz’s enduringly popular ‘WOMEN’ portrait series, first exhibited in 1999. Spanning over fifteen years, ‘WOMEN’ has seen the involvement of numerous high-profile, female icons from a broad range of countries and professions. Amongst them is the luminary political activist, Susan Sontag - Leibovitz’s late partner and the project’s first collaborator. The 2016 exhibition continues on that theme, showcasing and celebrating extraordinary women who are top of their fields.
Leibovitz, who is notoriously particular about her choice of exhibition space, highlighted the building sourced by Habitant as her favourite exhibition venue of the global tour so far. The listed villa has been left greatly undeveloped and retains many of its original features. It is sparsely renovated on the inside, the centre of the building has been gutted with minimal refurbishments made to essential rooms like the bathrooms and kitchen. With large expanses of wall space that stretched through multiple stories of the building and the vintage chic of the aesthetic, the venue made an impactful and functional exhibition space.
Santiago Lebrija, Managing Partner of Habitant, comments: “We found a spectacular piece of previously undiscovered historic architecture that worked both on an aesthetic level and a practical one. We felt that it possessed a raw authenticity and romanticism that resonated with the spirit of the exhibition. Coordination was of the utmost importance, as was the close collaboration between ourselves and Annie Leibovitz’s production team, who were a real pleasure to work with. We were delighted to provide a venue that Annie felt resonated so well with her work.”
The new series reflects the roles of women today and will evolve over the coming year as a body of work. The 10-city global tour, sponsored by the Swiss bank, UBS, has already been presented in London, Tokyo, San Francisco, Singapore and Hong Kong. Among the new work are figures like Malala Yousafzai, Lupita Nyong'o, Sheryl Sandburg, Serena Williams, and Aung San Suu Kyi. Also on display are works from the original series and other unpublished photographs taken since the exhibition began. Social activist and feminist icon, Gloria Steinem, was a surprise guest at the opening show. Steinem has written the introductory text for the new exhibition, as well as acting as a portrait subject.
Whilst in Mexico, as part of her travelling exhibition, Leibovitz intends to photograph writer Elena Poniatowska and attorney Andrea Medina Rosas, who has worked with victims of sexual violence in Mexico.
The exhibition will run in Mexico until 31st July. The exhibition is free of charge in order to encourage public participation in contemporary culture.