Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The magic of RIO - Pirelli Calendar 2013 - at MAMM Moscow

Photographer: Steve McCurry

The Rio depicted here suggests the history of Brazil, a country transformed - colonized, plundered and repopulated until it exploded with European and African intensities as well as all indigenous feathered shrieks. The photos show a homegrown culture of impulses and improvisations - syncretic, an anthropologist might say , a fusion of cultures, a people taking possession of different rituals or beliefs and making them their own. That too is magical. The music and dance and even the graffiti adds to the transformation; the human touch in the painted walls, the casual dress is the Cariocas' assertion of their own lives and their neighborhoods, turning their walls into murals and even their bodies into art objects, as body builders and dancers.

The capoeira - shown here as vigorous tumbling - is distinctly Brazilian and centuries old, combining movement and music that is both an aesthetic and a system of combat, like magic in action: a martial art, sometimes improvisational and artful. And the graffiti is not (as in some cities vandalism), but an enhancement, mural or maquillage on a wall, a street, in alcoves and markets, on the rooftops.

Here are images of abundance - plenty of everything, food, fruit, colour, music; an abundance of light, too, but sometimes wayward and revealing light. The young girl at the market stall, anxiously clutching her head, stands before an impressive pile of multicoloured peppers, She is alone, but so are many of other people in the city, especially  the solitary air of the woman talking away, along the Arcos de Lapa aqueduct, with a teasing suggestion of 'follow me'. She is a telling shadow; there is as much life in these shadows as in naked light.

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