Augusto de Campos and Julio Plaza,
Augusto de Campos and Julio Plaza, "Poemóbiles". Photo: Disclosure/Almeida & Dale

On display until March 18 at Zalszupin House, the exposure Sarau Zalszupin – Brazilian Modernist Utopias it was a happy coincidence for its curator, Iata Cannabrava. But it was also a provocation. A few years ago, Cannabrava had presented to Almeida & Dale – the gallery that maintains the exhibition space in partnership with ETEL – an exhibition project that mixed modern photography with concrete poetry, which, according to him, “visually, had a very similar path”. The proposal was accepted, but added to the challenge that he draw a third vertex in his curatorship: modernist furniture.

Also a photographer, Cannabrava tells that this is his first exhibition that does not involve only the support. Faced with the challenge, he says he spent months looking for a partnership. He ended up enlisting the help of journalist Tato Coutinho, with whom, over the course of two years, he had edited a book for Itaú Cultural, the Modern forever: Brazilian modernist photography in the Itaú Cultural Collection. The publication is the result of a series of tours of the homonymous exhibition, held in Brazil and in other Latin American countries, between 2010 and 2019, a period in which the collection was completed.

In a press release, the curator states that the exhibition “celebrates the Brazilian modernist utopia insinuated in the production gathered here. They are works marked by the desire to invent, by the search for a language capable of handling, more than the reality itself, the need to transform the reality that was then presented”.

In the show, Cannabrava suggests visual connections between creations from completely different eras, supports and authors. In the living room, he took advantage of the architecture of the house designed by Jorge Zalszupin, which “is an invitation to see, in a different way, everything in it and from the outside”, he said, to the arte!brasileiros. For example: the curator illuminated, with a yellow light, a tree with a trunk and roots that impact the external area, seen through a glass panel, and, on the wall to the side, he placed photographs such as Foliage (c. 1960) and Decorative (c. 1950), by José Yalenti, as well as Sheets (c. 1951), by Carlos Liger.

In another corner of the room, Cannabrava insinuates associations between The hunting of the Upper Xingu Indian (c. 1947), by Jean Manzon, and Diana (c.19450), by José Yalenti, with those from the side table Ninho (1949), by Lina Bo Bardi, for example. Another nexus proposed by the curator is a 1956 drawing by Lúcio Costa, for the Pilot Plan of Brasilia, and the photograph Brazilian Indian Village (1944/1947), also by Manzon. Still there, the circularity present in the photo Espiral (1944), by Gaspar Gasparian, converses with the Pétala table (1959), by Zalszupin. “Form comes as reflection, and they, the modernists, had common reflections, each one in their own territory, or path”, comments the curator.

Cannabrava also took advantage of the creative architecture of Zalszupin to arrange, in a cubic volume that once housed the fireplace of the house, the concrete poems see ships (1958), Crystal (1958) and White (1957), by Haroldo de Campos. From the second, Cannabrava got the typewritten original, belonging to the collector Fernando Abdalla, and the poem is displayed right next to the fireplace, on the back of the masonry sofa.

Going down towards the courtyard of the house, Cannabrava created an environment dedicated to visual poetry. Once again, he resorts to Zalszupin's architecture to exhibit works such as Solid (1962), by Wlademir Dias-Pino, in a niche. The poem The bird (1950s), also by Dias-Pino, appears on the wall directly ahead. On a shelf, the curator displays a 1984 reprint of the book poemmobile (1968), collaboration of the Spaniard Julio Plaza and Augusto de Campos. Another work by the artists, Objects (1969), is on display on the mezzanine floor of the house.

The exhibition occupies two other rooms, on the second floor of the house. In one of them, Cannabrava emulates the white cube of a gallery to create a dialogue between the photographs. Window (c. 1960) and Composition in black and white (c. 1960), by Eduardo Salvatore; Abstraction (1957), by José Oiticica Filho, and Fotoforma (1950), by Geraldo de Barros, with the poem Form (1959), by José Lino Grünewald, and the Modulo armchair (1977), by Oscar Niemeyer.

“This is the initial project room, concrete poetry diluted in the middle of modern photography, and vice versa. The two followed similar paths, breaking with the referent and presenting reflections in form. And, by not having color, the room goes back to the origins of my research on modern photography”, concludes the curator.



Sarau Zalszupin – Brazilian Modernist Utopias
Curator: Iatã Cannabrava
Until March 18st
Visitation: Monday to Friday, from 10am to 17pm; Saturdays, from 10 am to 14 pm
Admission: free, by appointment, on the website by appointment at


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