1964 - 2013

Contemporary Photography

Instituto Moreira Salles

Urban and natural landscapes in Brazilian contemporary photography

Photography arrived in Rio de Janeiro in 1840, when most Brazilian cities were small rural villages. Since then, we have seen urban metropolis spring up across the country. Some of them, like São Paulo, with around 25,000 inhabitants at that time, is now home to twenty million people.

[Brasília - photograph by J. Bodanzky]

And our capital, Brasília, strategically located in the heart of the country, was built just sixty years ago where there used to be only vast plains of trees and shrubs.

Photographer Marcel Gautherot - whose architectural photography stays for Oscar Niemeyer’s work as Lucien Hervé’s photographs stay for Le Corbusier -documented extensively the construction of Brasilia in the late 1950’s, and less than six years later his formal, tectonic images enter in a generational dialogue with then young photographer and would be film-maker Jorge Bodansky cinematic approach of the new capital...

...already on the verge of submerging under the twenty years of military regime imposed to Brazilians in the mid Sixties.

[Brasília - photograph by J. Bodanzky]

Urban and natural landscape, and its transformations, have been one of the main subjects of Brazilian photography and, by consequence, of Instituto Moreira Salles's photography collection of 900,000 images. 

[Brasília - photograph by J. Bodanzky]

The growing economy of the last decades has intensified these changes...

...asking artists to search for new visual practices to represent their surroundings.

[Brasília - photograph by J. Bodanzky]

Some of the new acquisitions for the IMS collection, like the work of Mauro Restiffe on the Nova Luz neighbourhood in downtown São Paulo, represents recent urban transformations by the intentional use of 35 b/w film and analog chemically processed very large prints...

...to interpret decay and possible renovation in a very dynamic environment of now one of the largest cities in the world.

[Nova Luz #3 - photograph by M. Restiffe]

[Nova Luz #6 - photograph by M. Restiffe]

[Nova Luz #8 - photograph by M. Restiffe]

On the other hand Caio Reisewitz’s recent collages, large and small, investigate urban landscapes mediated by the intense presence of nature...

...working in the very boundary where the constructed and the natural landscape (and imagery) meet, the same boundary that seduced Marc Ferrez since his early works in the 1860’s.

[Ubitinga - photograph by C. Reisewitz]

Since its foundation in 1990, IMS has been a cultural institution dedicated to the preservation, research and interpretation, through critical thinking, of Brazilian culture. 

In keeping with this mission, it has elected photography as its priority field of activity. 

[Suiára - photograph by C. Reisewitz]

IMS's photographic collection comprises one of the most important 19th-century collections in Brazil...

[Casa Canoas - photograph by C. Reisewitz]

...together with the best ensemble related to 20th-century Brazilian photography.  

The main reasons for this long term effort to collect and preserve photographs is related to IMS's perception of the importance of photography in the arts, both from a formal and aesthetic perspective...

[Copacadema - photograph by C. Reisewitz]

...but also related to authorship and documentation, especially through the work of visual artists, historic and contemporary, concerned with the task of constructing and deconstructing cultural values through creative imagery.

Credits: Story

Curators — Sérgio Burgi, Thyago Nogueira

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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