The Embassy of Brazil in London proudly presents the first solo exhibition by Frederico Câmara in London. The show will present a group of previously unseen works resulting from the artist’s recent one-man expedition to China.
In his trip to China, supported by the British Council’s ‘Darwin Now Award’, Câmara photographed the country’s main zoos and aquariums. The expedition, which took place in the second half of 2009 and lasted 86 days, stems from a wider research project to create a World Atlas of the built environment of zoo cages, divided by regions or countries photographed. Zoos not only represent this geographical division in their own collections, but they also reflect, in their design, the “styles” or cultural aspects that are peculiar to the visual culture of the country to which they belong. Previous work for this research project was done in Germany, the UK, Romania, Canada, France, Switzerland, Norway, Singapore and Japan.
By concentrating on China for this portion of his project, which despite not being a former European colony it embodies ideas of exoticism in its images, artifacts and materials, Câmara asks the question: How does a country seen as exotic respond to the idea of the exotic through the environmental reproductions in its zoos?
For the artist, the chosen medium of photography best reveals subtle patterns that relate to social as well as aesthetic peculiarities in the areas where the images are created. In Câmara’s words, ‘photography has the power to make us “re-view” a situation after it transformed it into an image. For example, no one stops at an empty cage when visiting a zoological garden, because the objective of such a visit is the contemplation of the animal. The cage is in this case just a background or stage. However, with the cage transformed into an image without the presence of the animal, the cage becomes the subject. This shift in focus from the animal to its artificial environment results in a series of observations related to science, the environment, as well as art and religion, in questioning the act of creation.’
For Câmara’s exhibition, Gallery 32 will be transformed into a projection room, where a selection of the artist’s photographs will be displayed in large-scale, recreating a space of contemplation that resonates the presence of the environments in which they were taken.
Frederico Câmara was born in 1971 in Governador Valadares, Brazil, and has lived and worked in London for the last ten years. In 1993, he graduated in Printmaking from Escola de Belas Artes (UFMG, Belo Horizonte) and in 2004 he obtained an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art, London.
The artist has participated in a number of residencies in the UK and abroad, and has received numerous awards, amongst which: Brasil Arte Contemporânea, Fundação Bienal de São Paulo – São Paulo, Brazil; Darwin Now Award, British Council – London, United Kingdom; Pavilion Commissions – Leeds, United Kingdom; Marcantonio Vilaça Award for the Visual Arts, FUNARTE / MinC – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
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Sponsors and partners:
Brasil Arte Contemporânea (Fundação Bienal de São Paulo), Brazilian Government (Ministry of External Relations), Darwin Now (British Council) and Tristão Group