Hay Tiempo, No Hey Tiempo

Curated by Jo Ractliffe & Josh Ginsburg
November 9, 2018 - January 31, 2019
       Arts Foundation / Projects


Hay Tiempo, No Hay Tiempo: An exhibition of work by Jo Ractliffe
at the Centro Fotográfico Álvarez Bravo, Oaxaca, Mexico. 

Hay Tiempo, No Hay Tiempo is the first solo exhibition in Latin America of the work of South African photographer Jo Ractliffe. The exhibition forms part of Crossing Night/ Hacer Noche, a major project of Southern African arts in Oaxaca commissioned and curated by Francisco Berzunza. 

Responding to Crossing Night/Hacer Noche's broad reflection on transition, transformation and the liminal in life and in death, Ractliffe’s exhibition draws on a further two phenomena that connect it to Oaxaca. The first is the existing note above the door of Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s studio which reads 'Hay Tiempo, Hay Tiempo' (There is Time, There is Time). The second is Alvarez Bravo's iconic photograph, Striking worker, Assassinated (1934). Ractliffe purchased this image some ten years ago. It has hung on the wall of her studio ever since.

Curated collaboratively by Ractliffe and Josh Ginsburg, director of A4 Arts, the exhibition comprises works from over three decades of photographic investigation and exploration. Some images are well travelled and iconic of Ractliffe’s practice, while others have been printed for the first time.

Underpinning the process is Ractliffe’ idiosyncratic reflection on time, desire and loss. In this way, Hay Tiempo, No Hay Tiempo seeks a dynamic tension between two opposing provocations nascent in its title: on the one hand, a sense of urgency, of much still to be done; and on the other, a challenge to slow down, to take one’s time, to be still.

"My first encounter with Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s photograph of the Striking Worker, Assassinated (1934) was in the early 1980s when I acquired a book on ‘World Photography’. It was an odd grouping of photographers whose work encompassed everything from fashion to medical science to war. But there was the Alvarez Bravo photograph, this dead man – such violence, such beauty! I was transfixed in that moment. The image now hangs on the wall in my studio; it fixes me still.

Three years ago, I suffered a spinal injury that altered my life. It also changed my work and the way I see things. For a time, this injury was at the forefront of everything, I felt mixed up with the dead. There are good things to be had there. But of course the real struggle inside is to untether the world of the dead from the world of the living, to make life anew, in this world.

When I first spoke with the curators, Francisco and Josh, my immediate thought was that this photograph of Manuel Alvarez Bravo’s would form the idea of this exhibition. Everything starts from there. The title itself comes from a note above the door of his studio: 'Hay Tiempo, Hay Tiempo' (There is Time, There is Time). The exhibition brings together a selection of photographs from the mid-1980s to 2018. Some are well travelled, some are recently made, and some have been printed up here for the first time. Unhinged from their originating intentions and contexts, the images find themselves in new and perhaps unexpected proximities, not least, in this place, Oaxaca."

- Jo Ractliffe

︎ Scroll for Notes


Jo Ractliffe
Josh Ginsburg

Francisco Berzunza

Centro Fotográfico Álvarez Bravo