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DOCUMENT is pleased to present Geraldo de Barros’ first solo exhibition at the gallery. De Barros (São Paulo, Brazil, 1923-1998) concentrated on photography within two periods of time, each resulting in the production of the two bodies of work represented in this exhibition: the Fotoformas (1949-51) and the Sobras (1996-1998). By using a medium that so persuasively locates itself within day-to-day reality, de Barros was able interrogate the relationship between photography and other forms of capturing experience. In both series, he overlaid photographic document with the making-visible of imaginative or formal associations, and collapsed different moments of time into a single image.

Fotoformas and Sobras bridge the beginning and end of de Barros’ working life as an artist. Between the two, his activity had included participating in the formation of the Concrete Art group Ruptura (1952-1959); co-founding both the collectivist furniture factory Unilabor (1954-1961) and the graphic design consultancy forminform (1958); creating, with Nelson Leirner and Wesley Duke Lee, an anarchic space named Rex Gallery & Sons (1966-1967), and founding the furniture company Hobjeto (1964-1989). The artistic output of this varied trajectory encompassed abstract painting, industrial and graphic design, assemblages produced by painting over found billboard fragments, and abstract reliefs made of Formica. This multifaceted career suggests a wilful and dextrous heterogeneity that is also contained within De Barros’ attitude towards photography.

Through their use of cutting, cropping and collage, the Sobras also recall the processes first used in the production of the Fotoformas. Whereas the relationship between the two series is consistently apparent at the level of technique, the set of photo-collages on paper that also forms part of Sobras creates a more explicit connection to the Fotoformas. Their source materials were reproductions of his earliest images, as produced for a book published for his 1994 retrospective in São Paulo. Being fortunate enough to be witness to the beginnings of his own historicisation, the Sobras thus allowed de Barros to submit his photographic practice to a degree of chronological disobedience. As a deliberate return to photography, his final series again marked out the distinct parameters of his approach to this medium. This is a series of work that de Barros began at the end of his life, but it is also one provoked by a need to recall his first motivations for engaging with photography. The Sobras, formed by a process of looking back that acted against both nostalgia and narrative, continue to invite the intrusion of the present.

Isobel Whitelegg

Geraldo de Barros

Geraldo de Barros was born in São Paulo in 1923 and lived there until his death in 1998. He started his career as a traditional painter, but began an intense period of experimentation with the photographic medium in 1946, which culminated in his Fotoformas exhibition at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) in 1951. The exhibition was a watershed for Brazilian photography and led to de Barros receiving a scholarship to study engraving in Paris. While in Europe he travelled extensively, meeting influential artists and encountering key movements in art and design. He returned to Brazil and established a successful career as an artist and industrial designer. A key figure in Brazillian Concrete, Abstract and Pop art he was a founding member of many influential groups including Grupo 15, Galeria Rex, Grupo Ruptura. He established the design co-operative Unilabor and furniture company Hobjeto Industry. After a series of strokes de Barros began in 1996 to work on a series of collage works using his ‘leftover’ family photographs. Entitled Sobras, de Barros continued to work on the series until his death in 1998.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Sobras Series), 1996-1998, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 5

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1948, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Untitled (from Fotoformas Series), 1950, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

Geraldo de Barros, Hommage à Picasso (from Fotoformas Series), 1949, Silver gelatin print, Edition of 15

John Opera “Technical Images” at Document

Owner
Aron Gent
aron@documentspace.com
Director
Sibylle Friche
sibylle@documentspace.com
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DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery located in Chicago that specializes in contemporary photography, film and media based art. The gallery has organized more than 30 solo exhibitions since its opening in 2011 and actively promotes the work of emerging national and international artists. Operating conjointly as a professional printmaking studio, DOCUMENT facilitates the production of works by artists from Chicago and the US. At this time we do not accept unsolicited submissions.