Gelatin silver print
Image: 24.4 x 18.3 cm (9 5/8 x 7 3/16 in.); Mounted: 30 x 23 cm (11 13/16 x 9 1/16 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 2007.142
© Colette Urbajtel/ Archivo Manuel Álvarez Bravo, S.C
Though Bravo made this image years before he encountered Surrealism, the movement’s principle theorist André Breton cited it among the evidence that Mexico was "the Surrealist country" whose principal lure was "the ability to reconcile life and death." Describing Ladder of Ladders, Breton wrote, "That workshop where they make caskets for children (the infant mortality rate in Mexico is 75%); the relationship between light and shadow, between the stacks of boxes by the ladder and the one by the gate, and the poetically dazzling image created by placing the phonograph horn inside the lower coffin are exceptionally evocative of the emotional atmosphere in which the whole country is steeped."
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