Another World of Photography
In the world of contemporary art photography, subject matter that depicts the human experience of the people of Latin American hasn't always been at the forefront of international conscousness. That is starting to change. Led by the work of ground breaking Latin American photographers with the support of a core of established photography galleries in major Latin American capitals, the stories of the people of Latin America are starting to break through.
The most recent example of this trend played out this week in New York where the 38th edition of The Photography Show took place. Presented by AIPAD (Association International of Photography Art Dealers), the show is the major meeting and exhibition of photography galleries from all over the world. Two of the highlights of the show were the work of Brazilian photographer Andre Cunha represented by Utopica gallery in Sao Paulo and the work Argentine photographer Adriana Lestido represented by Rolf Art in Buenos Aires.
Andre Cunha and Another World
At the age of 18, Andre Cunha began his career as an editorial photographer in Brazil. After graduation, he opened his own atelier in Rio de Janeiro, where he worked with art and design projects. Later he settled in Sao Paulo, where since then he develops his photographic work. Cunha was one of the selected for the event “Caravana Magnum” on its 70th anniversary, that took place in the Photography Festival of Tiradentes and in Rio de Janeiro, managed by the iconic agency Magnum Photos. He was also awarded with the Honorable Mention in the Brazil Photography Award 2016, held in 2017.
At The Photography Show, Utopica gallery presented Cunha's project “Another World” depicting the lives of Manuel and Rose who live with their four children in the interior of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The family subsists on organic agriculture and maintains an existence alien to the comforts of life in the modern city. At home there is no digital connection to the outside world, no internet, and with just an old cell phone in the case of an emergency, the only electronic gadget kids have is an old TV where sometimes they watch VHS tapes of German cartoons.
Manuel and Rose are exquisite tattoo artists and both have their bodies covered by a sophisticated drawing of filigrees that extend and grow from the feet to the skin of the face, one tattoos the other. The beauty and sensuality that emanate from the daily images of this family make us think about the choices we make in our lives, how we educate our children and how we live alienated by the consumer society. The family portrayed by Andre Cunha somehow achieves a dream, a kind of utopia.
In addition to the work of Andre Cunha, Sao Paulo based Utopica represents the works of sixteen photographers. They are: Aracy Esteves Gomes, Evandro Teixeira, Felipe Russo, Fernando Lemos, German Lorca, Carlos Moreira, Juca Martins, Luiz Carlos Barreto, Rogério Assis, Rogério Reis, Valdir Zwetsch and Wagner Almeida; and in Brazil, Beth Moon, Guillermo Srodek-Hart and the estates of photographers Annemarie Heinrich and Martín Chambi.
Rolf Art Presents the work of Adriana Lestido
Rolf Art, founded in Buenos Aires in 2009 by Florencia Giordana Braun, focuses on contemporary Latin American visual arts. The gallery features works exploring photographic media and its boundaries. The curatorial profile of the gallery first and foremost challenges the political context of what is considered a political image within the boundaries of the photographic medium. It also considers the social and economical context of artistic production and understands it as a determining factor for art’s interpretation.
As an example of this approach, at The Photography Show Rolf Art presented a survey exhibition of Argentine photographer Adriana Lestido.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1955, Adriana Lestido was the first Argentine photographer to receive the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. Her work is renowned on a national and international basis; she has been awarded with several scholarships and accolades such as the Hasselblad in Sweden (1991), the Mother Jones in United States (1997), the Konex Award (2002), and the Lifetime Achievement Award, by the Argentine Association of Art Critics, among others. In 2010 she received the Bicentennial Medal and was appointed as Outstanding Personality of the Culture by the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires.
She is the author of five books and her work has been exhibited in solo and group shows in countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, United States, Spain, France, Germany, Sweden, Scotland, Denmark, Belgium, China and Japan. Nowadays, her work is part of important national and international collections public and private such as the National Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Modern Art in Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Museum of Contemporary Art Castagnino + Macro (Rosario, Argentina), Museum of Fine Arts (Caracas, Venezuela), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston , USA), Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain and Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris, France), Hasselblad Center (Göteborg, Sweden), among others. She lives and works in Buenos Aires and Mar de las Pampas.
As the work of Andre Cunha and Adriana Lestido showcase, the lives of the people of Latin America are beautiful and compelling subjects and powerful raw material for the aristic endeavers of the photographers of the region. As these photographers, and others, continue to do their work, galleries like Utopica and Rolf Art will continue to present these images on the world stage.
Top: Artist: Andre Cunha - Untitled - From the series Another World - Courtesy of Utopica
Middle-Top: Artist: Andre Cunha - Untitled - From the series Another World - Courtesy of Utopica
Middle-Bottom: Artist: Adriana Lestido - Madre e hija de Plaza de Mayo - Courtesy of Rolf Art
Bottom: Artist: Adriana Lestido - From the series Mujeres Presas - Courtesy of Rolf Art