The assassination of Piersanti Mattarella, Governor of Sicily, in 1980.
The assassination of Piersanti Mattarella, Governor of Sicily, in 1980. Photo: Letizia Battaglia

At the Moreira Salles Institute in São Paulo, two exhibitions dedicated to important foreign photographers: the Italian Letizia Battaglia (1935) and the Chilean Sergio Larrain (1931-2012).

Sample Letizia Battaglia: Palermo brings together around 90 images, publications and films, with a special focus on the photographer's role in the newspaper L'Ora. She began her work as a photographer in 1971 in Milan, while writing as a freelancer for various publications such as Le Pray, a sensationalist newspaper and the ABC, an intellectual publication.  was invited by Time to return to Palermo, where he was born, and it was there, for four decades, that he documented the mafia war, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. This without ignoring the daily life of the city and its inhabitants..

In the words of the photographer, “with the camera in my shoulder, I became a witness to all the evil that was happening. It was years of civil war: Sicilians against Sicilians. The best judges, the most courageous journalists, politicians averse to corruption were murdered”. Curated by Paolo Falcone, the exhibition has already visited Palermo, Rome and the IMS in Rio before arriving in São Paulo.

Sample Sergio Larrain: a rectangle in hand, in turn, provides an overview of the work of the Chilean, who acted as a correspondent for the Magnum agency during the 1960s. The exhibition features more than 140 photographs, a video and publications, covering the periods of production of Larrain in Santiago, the I work as a correspondent in Europe and South America and back to my homeland. Curated by Agnès Sire, the show has already visited Arles, France, several Chilean cities, Buenos Aires and the IMS in Rio.

In this version that is in the IMS, the work that Larrain did, in the second half of the 1950s, was added,  for the Brazilian magazine international cruise, by Assis Chateaubriand. magazine owner Cruzeiro — successful publication and responsible for the implementation of photojournalism here with photographers such as José Medeiros, Pierre Verger, Luiz Carlos Barreto, Marcel Gautherot —, Chateaubriand, when launching its international version, wanted to compete with American Life and French Paris Match.

Photos: Sergio Larrain/Magnum Photo

The magazine was launched in 1957, Larrain produced just over a dozen articles for it between 1957 and 1959. He was then invited by Cartier-Bresson to work at Magnum in Paris. THE international cruise ended up closing in 1965 for lack of advertisers.

In France, Sergio Larrain, who was a friend of Julio Cortázar, one day revealing the films he had made in the streets of Paris, saw, in the background in a photo, a couple. He enlarged the negative and saw that the couple was making love, leaning against a wall. He later met with the Argentine writer and showed him the enlargement. The photo served as inspiration for the story. The devil's babas, one of five published in 1959 in the book The secret weapons. The tale, in turn, inspired the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni who made the now classic and inspiring Blow-Up.

In the words of Sire, the exhibition’s curator, who has worked at Magnum since 1982 and is director and one of the founders of the Cartier-Bresson Foundation, “for Larrain, photography was  poetry, was by no means a documentary matter.”

In a letter he wrote to a nephew in 1982, Sergio Larrain said: “Follow your taste and nothing else, believe only your taste… When you have some really good photos, enlarge them and make a small exposure. or a booklet. Have it bound. And with that, go firming a floor. When you show them, you realize what they are, when you see them in front of others that's where you feel them. Making an exhibition is giving something, it's like giving food, it's good for others to show them something made with work and taste. It’s not showing off, doing it well is healthy for everyone.”

Letizia Battaglia: Palermo
Until September 22th
Sergio Larrain: a rectangle in hand
Until August 25

Instituto Moreira Salles – Av. Paulista, 2424
Free admission




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