Baby Andrew. PHOTO: Vladimir herzog institute archive.

VOn the other hand, Herzog was 38 years old when he was killed, under torture, in the premises of Doi-Codi, in 1975, in São Paulo. At the time he was editor of the program news time, from TV Cultura, and had gone voluntarily to testify. From there, a farce was set up, in an attempt to cover up the murder by turning it into suicide, and a fierce struggle began for the truth to come out, turning the journalist into a kind of symbol against oppression and in defense of democracy. , whose last chapter was the condemnation of the Brazilian State by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights of the OAS, in 2018. It is to him that Itaú Cultural dedicates the 46th edition of the Ocupação project, which has been revisiting the work and biography of great figures of Brazilian culture. Rightly, the exhibition goes beyond the political drama of the subject. The starting point is not the dramatic ending, but an intertwined with references to his public and private life, a journey that in a way explains why he was brutally treated as an enemy of the Regime. It rescues the story of a multifaceted figure, deeply interested in the direction of the country at a particularly violent moment in its history and who saw in art, especially in cinema – the field of his greatest interest – a path of action and reflection.

Early on, visitors are faced with a careful selection of photographs he took obsessively and rigorously. In the family's collections, more than 70 boxes of slides were found, carefully identified, containing images that range from personal records of the trip to experiments of great formal richness, compositions marked by a sharp look and the use of unusual angles and framing, such as that which shows her son André, still a baby, in the midst of an intense red rose garden. The woman holding him, probably his wife Clarisse, practically leaves the scene to make the image more intense and disturbing.

This first nucleus, called Vlado Multimedia, also brings a series of documents, testimonies from friends and traveling companions, as well as texts by Herzog about cinema, witnessing both a real action in this field and a journalistic interest in defense of a social use of language. Unfortunately, he only managed to direct a short film, entitled marimbás, but he was already preparing to make a documentary about Canudos. Both the photos taken during his field research in Bahia and the marimbás, are part of the show. The catalog is also exclusively dedicated to his relationship with cinema.

His personal life, journalistic work and his permanence as a symbol of the fight against oppression (represented in works such as the action of Cildo Meireles, who stamps money notes with the question: “Who killed Herzog?”) constitute the other nuclei of the show. Over two years of research, which involved a team of eight researchers, in addition to the team from Itaú Cultural and Instituto Vladimir Herzog – partners in the production of the show – thousands of data and documents were collected. Scattered around the exhibition space, the visitor is faced with a series of rich elements such as facsimiles of his articles for various vehicles, posters and posthumous books in his honor, important documents related to the Herzog Case such as the decision of Judge Márcio José de Moraes that , in 1978, reversed the official version of suicide, amid symbolic objects such as his typewriter and camera. Items such as the Herzog family's entry into Brazil in 1946 and a letter that his father wrote him narrating the family's life during World War II are especially touching, when they took refuge in Italy fleeing Yugoslavia and anti-Semitism. Or even the photograph of the Estado de S. Paulo newsroom, completely empty, on the day of his funeral.  A visual testament to the enormous solidarity and commotion caused by his assassination by the military regime.

“It was a real mining. What we see here is just the surface”, says Luis Ludmer, from Instituto Herzog and co-curator of the show together with Claudiney Ferreira, manager of the Audiovisual and Literature Center at Itaú Cultural. The idea is that all this material will serve, in the future,  basis for the construction of a website, making permanent access to all this volume of material, which tends to become even wider with disclosures such as this exhibition whose function is not only to remember the past and rescue the figure of the engaged intellectual , ensuring that it is never forgotten, but also building an important model of resistance in times of retreat from human rights such as what we are experiencing today. “We didn't want anything funereal,” say the curators. Hence the option for an open museography, with the various nuclei in dialogue, marked by a certain lightness and rusticity.

Vladimir Herzog occupation
Itaú Cultural – Av. Paulista, 149 – Bela Vista, São Paulo
Until October 20st

 

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