A collection of Latin American Modern Architecture

Miércoles 7 de diciembre, 2016 por Martina Rossi
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La publicación A Collection of Latin American Modern Architecture es parte de una serie fotográfica en curso de Leonardo Finotti, uno de los principales fotógrafos de arquitectura del mundo. El libro presenta fotografías de Finotti de los últimos ocho años que hacen visible la arquitectura moderna de América Latina.

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Imágenes extraídas del libro A collection of Latin American Modern Architecture de Leonardo Finotti.

Autor/ Leonardo Finotti

Título/ A collection of Latin American Modern Architecture

Editorial/ Lars Müller Publishers

 Año/ 2016

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An Unfinished Project: Leonardo Finotti’s Photography and the Latin American Modernist Tradition in Architecture

Ensayo de Barry Bergdoll

Leonardo Finotti is an architect’s photographer as well as a photographer of architecture. He constructs his photos with the eye of an artist first trained as a designer of buildings, and he seeks out the relationships of the building with the larger environment as though he were again present in the vibrant discussions that led to the building’s final form. He has developed an approach that is at once distinctly his own — immediately recognizable — and yet in a tradition of “classic” modern architectural photography — a tradition that includes the work of such New World masters as Ezra Stoller and Julius Shulman perhaps more emphatically than, say, his Brazilian predecessor Marcel Gautherot. Unpersuaded by the current fashion for making the architectural subject incidental to the photographic framing — as, for example, in the work of Iwan Baan — often aligned with the current skepticism about the ability of architects to shape a better world, Finotti’s photography both captures and maintains the optimism of the heroic period of post-war modernism when architecture built both the framework of daily life and the aspirations of cultures, particularly of Brazil and its Latin American neighbors, which are the home territory of Finotti’s growing body of work. That corpus has begun to take on the character of an archive. Buildings remain central, even when — as in the case of remarkable photography of Brasilia’s Monumental Axis recently included in the 2015 exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art entitled Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1950–1980 — they need to share the frame generously with the majestic sky of the central Brazilian savanna: something that is as much a part of the concept of the new national capital of Brasilia as the sweeping architectural gestures of Oscar Niemeyer’s architecture or the formal clarity of Lucio Costa’s urban plan.

Finotti’s sense of an archive, a larger project in photography than the mere accumulation of the residue of individual commissions, first entered into an intense dialogue with the legacy of high modernism in a project completed in time for Niemeyer’s one hundredth birthday in 2007. 100 Photos / Works / Years: Oscar Niemeyer by Leonardo Finotti yielded not only a book reproducing one hundred photographs of one hundred different works of the prolific centenarian, it also occasioned an installation that marked the debut of Finotti’s conception of his photography as more than a portable image. This installation was first shown in the gallery of the Fundação EDP in Lisbon, and Finotti, together with his wife, the architect Michelle Jean de Castro, conceived a symbiosis between the careful horizontal framing of all of Finotti’s individual images and the creation of an unbroken line of photographs that immersed the viewer in the experience of that horizon. This datum situated the viewer in the space of the gallery even as its continuous line followed the peripatetic Niemeyer across the ocean from his Brazilian works to the United Nations Headquarters in New York to the architect’s works in France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, and Algeria. Here the photographer of architecture and the architect of photography met in homage to one of the century’s most photogenic designers.

Like Niemeyer, Finotti is a traveler. And in recent years his range has become more and more extensive as the maintenance of his own stock of images has developed into the project of documenting the heroic decades of modernist architecture in the key countries of Latin America. At the same time Finotti’s eye is keenly turned to contemporary practices, particularly those that have renewed a dialogue with modernism before the advent of postmodernism. Finotti’s marked affinity with the project of modernism is clear in the sensitive way in which he seeks not only to photograph the presence of buildings of a half century ago in the cityscapes of twenty-first-century Latin America.

In tune with the spirit of the original construction, Finotti is able to make that resonant even in the saturated color of a modern view. His quick understanding of the architectural qualities of a building as a design project leads to salient details, for instance examining the very essence of a designer’s innovations and values, as in the extraordinary set of images of the headquarters building of the Corporación Venezuelano de Guayana in the Venezuelan new city from the 1960s, Cuidad Guayana: one of the most powerful images added in 2015 to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Finotti’s work is a project in evolution. His image-making has achieved a maturity and a consistency that marks it as a record of a great chapter in the history of modern architecture as much as it marks him as a distinct practitioner of imaging and imagining architecture. His project is one infused with a belief in the capacity of architectural design to form and transform.

As his archive expands in its attention to new generations of designers, from Angelo Bucci in Brazil to Solano Benitez in Paraguay to even younger practices, the optimism that Finotti captures from the mid-century period may once again resonate in the architecture of the immediate future. Few photographers follow the evolution of current design practices with sympathetic lenses already positioning themselves. Finotti indeed captures the vibrancy of design innovation, making mid-century buildings appear as fresh as when they were new, and new work as commanding as it will be in decades to come.

Barry Bergdoll es Profesor Meyer Schapiro de Historia del Arte en la Universidad de Columbia y curador del Departamento de Arquitectura y Diseño en el Museo de Arte Moderno de Nueva York. Fue uno de los organizadores de la exhibición realizada en 2015 Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980.

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En 2008, el fotógrafo brasileño Leonardo Finotti, fue invitado por el curador del departamento de Arquitectura y Diseño del Museo de Arte Moderno de Nueva York, Barry Bergdoll, a participar de una exposición en homenaje al trabajo de investigación histórica sobre Arquitectura Moderna en American Latina que tuvo lugar en 1995. Esto dio comienzo al encargo que introdujo a Finotti en una experiencia que duró ocho años.

A Collection of Latin American Modern Architecture presenta una variedad de imágenes que expresan la visión fotográfica de Finotti de la arquitectura moderna de Americana Latina no conocida hasta el momento y ofrecen una visión global de la región. Coleccionando visitas, experiencias y fotografías, la investigación tuvo lugar en varias latitudes, de las cuales nueve están publicadas en este libro: Asunción, Montevideo, Belo Horizonte, Valparaíso, São Paulo, Bogotá, Lima, México City y la Habana.

La manera en que las fotografías fueron tomadas y como están presentadas, hace que la arquitectura quede sujeta a una evaluación objetiva. Este enfoque permite al lector hacerse una idea de la riqueza y variedad de la arquitectura de América Latina, que va desde edificios de estadios, hasta edificios públicos y viviendas privadas.

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