What Remains: Geraldo de Barros at The Photographers' Gallery in London

By Pippa Birchall | 25 February 2013

Exhibition Preview: What Remains, Geraldo de Barros, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, until April 7 2013

A black and white photo showing a cluster of balloons on wires next to a transmitter
Geraldo de Barros, Fotoformas, Tatuapé, Sao Paulo (1948)© Geraldo de Barros
The late Brazilian artist Geraldo de Barros is regarded as a pioneer of Modernist photography and an inspirational figure for a new generation of contemporary Brazilian practitioners.

What Remains will be focusing on de Barros’ Sobras (1996-98), which was made towards the end of his life with a selection of photographs from his celebrated Fotoformas series (1946-51).

Sobras was completed when the photographer was confined to a wheelchair and restricted in speech due to suffering several strokes. De Barros decided to revisit his old archive of images taken on holiday and from old family albums. With the help of an assistant he went on to draw, cut and paste his negatives and arrange them into collages on glass plates.

The result is a transformation of ordinary moments in his life into geometrical structures and abstract figurations. It also reveals how he has suffered from memory loss during his lifetime which has been depicted through black voids and crude cut-outs of intimate family pictures.

His series of Fotoformas images marked an important transition in the Brazilian cultural scene at the time. He experimented with multiple exposures, hand-made filters, juxtaposition of shadows and light, scratching, drawing and painting on negatives to create an array of abstract photos.

The exhibition marks the beginning and the end of de Barros’ photographic career, combining the two series to demonstrate his radical approach towards the images whilst exploring different techniques.

  • Open 10am-6pm (8pm Thursday, 11.30am-6pm Sunday). Admission free. Follow the gallery on Twitter @TPGallery.

More pictures:

A black and white photo of a small boy behind a man in a suit within a forest setting
Sobras (1996-98)© Courtesy Geraldo de Barros / The Photographers' Gallery
A photo of a black cage made out of spindly black wires casting shadows on a white wall
The Birds (1950)© Courtesy Geraldo de Barros / The Photographers' Gallery
A photo of mountains and lakes with grey houses visible in the foreground of the shot
Sobras (1996-98)© Courtesy Geraldo de Barros / The Photographers' Gallery
A black and white photo of various works made out of lengths of black against white
Untitled, Sao Paulo (1949)© Courtesy Geraldo de Barros / The Photographers' Gallery
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