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"Rogerio Reis: Carnival in Canvas"
2002-01-19 until 2002-03-29
Tepper Takayama Fine Arts
Boston, MA, USA United States of America

Carnaval na Lona or Carnival in Canvas is an ongoing photographic essay by the Brazilian photographer, Rogerio Reis. In 1987, Reis began photographing 3 distinct segments of Rio de Janeiros street or Counter-Carnival, as it has been called. He chronicles the downtown street carnival in the heart of the financial and political district characterised by ironic social and political themes, the extravagantly fanciful gay street carnival of the fashionable Ipanema district, and the more frugal or impromptu costumes of the decidedly unsophisticated, quasi-rural and impoverished Campo Grande area of Rio.

These street revelries are gloriously irreverant, and satirical. They also permit, everyone who is so inclined, to have a brief moment of stardom or distinction.

Rogerio Reis works as an itinerant photographer employing a weathered and aged portable canvas for a backdrop. He sets up the canvas in the street, thus creating an instant studio, and photographs the revelers in these three locations. The subjects of the resulting powerful and haunting portraits, in most cases pose, for the photographer so that they may be seen for posterity as they wish to be perceived, letting the portraits create their identity.

The result of these years of documenting street carnival is a record of surpising depth and profundity, not only of carnival but of the recent social, political and economic history of Rio, Brazil in general, and of the rest of the world from the Brazilian perspective. It is a kaleidescopic vision of the heroes, anti-heroes, celebrities, politicians and political movements of the mid-1980s through the turn of the century. Mr. Reiss oeuvre has metamorphosised itself into an epic chronicle of these times. Occasionally the photographer and subject permit us to see the other reality, the street behind the studio, as often happened in 19th century studio photographs.

Rogerio Reis is a distinguished photojournalist who frequently photographs the activities of e Brazils President at home and abroad. He is the 1999 winner of Brazils National Prize for Documentary Photography, and one of the founders of Brazils first professional photo bank. His work has been exhibited in Brazil, the U.S., London, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland, where his powerful Carnival on Canvas, Man /Machine: Train Surfers series were critical successes. His photographs are in the permanent collections of the Danforth Museum of Art, Musee Francais de Photographie, the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Museu de Arte de Rio de Janeiro, Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo, and the Worcester Art Museum among others. Mr. Reiss work appears in the key reference book, A Song to Reality, Latin American Photography 1860-1993 by Erika Billeter, published in a Spanish and an English language edition. His work has frequently appeared in magazines including Newsweek Geo, Paparazzi and others. A monograph entitled Na Lona was published in September of 2001. by Editorial Aeroplano, Rio de Janeiro.

IMAGE:
Rogerio Reis
Woman with Poodles, 1996
Gelatin silver print
50 x 50 cm


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