Blue Tango

Miguel Rio Branco1984



The downstairs floor of Miguel Rio Branco Gallery features 34 images of one of the artist’s most important and seminal works: the photographs taken in the district of Maciel, in the area known as Pelourinho, in the city of Salvador. Miguel Rio Branco discovered Pelourinho in 1979, when he became interested in portraying the prostitution in this area, as well as its people, history and violence. Formerly an important residential and social hub in Salvador, the region underwent an intense process of decadence in the 1970s, leading to the informal occupation of its buildings and the degradation of the old constructions. In that year, the artist made successive visits to the locale and established a relationship with the people there, who in return for allowing themselves to be photographed received their portraits mounted in monocular viewers: a code of interchange that recalls the origins of photography. In Pelourinho, the descriptive gaze of the documentary photographer gives way to a position of involvement with the scene recorded. The central result is the encounter between beauty and eroticism in the ruins. Color and light are used as expressive and excessive elements – walls of the brothel covered with clippings from magazines, lit by the light filtering through doors and windows. The flat image gives rise to tactile and motoric elements such as the imperfect lines and surfaces of the house, the marked human skin, a scar that seems to have been made in the photograph itself. The body of the inhabitants of Pelourinho is shown with rawness and intimacy.

Show lessRead more


  • Title: Blue Tango
  • Date Created: 1984
  • Photographer: Miguel Rio Branco
  • Rights: Inhotim Collection, Brazil, Miguel Rio Branco
  • Medium: Cibachrome; polyptych


Translate with Google