If you’re attending the world’s biggest stage this year, then what better way to discover the culture of the city than to wander its streets, talk with the people and find out how the city and its culture came to be? Here we have put together a list of some of the great exhibitions showing at museums during the Rio Olympics, giving you further insight into the Carioca people and the city’s history.
Linguagens do corpo carioca [a vertigem do Rio] (Body discourses [the vertigo of Rio])
Museu de Arte do Rio 07/06/2016 to 09/10/2016
A mammoth show of over 800 pieces of art relating to the Carioca (the local people of Rio) culture is being displayed by the Museu de Arte do Rio. Curated by Paulo Herkenhoff (an art critic and previous curator at the Museu Nacional de Belas Artes, Rio de Janeiro) the exhibition of diverse works uses the visual form of the body to convey the essence of the city and its culture.
In such a flamboyant and edgy city it’s not surprising that this exhibition features gasp-inducing imagery of the latest urban feats such as high-speed train surfing or altitude-sickening highline walks. As well as these death-defying challenges, the mega show also takes a deep look inside the social relationships throughout the city, seeing how communities inside the favelas relate to each other and what happens when the different classes meet. Everything from Carnival images and the Rio2016 Olympic characters can be found here, it’s almost as if this year Rio has started its own scrap book and the visitors to the Olympic Games will help to complete it.
Modernidades: fotografia brasileira 1940-1964 (Modernities: Brazilian Photography)
Instituto Moreira Salles 20/03/2016 to 26/02/2017
After doing a tour of Europe’s cities, this curation of four of the most influential Brazilian photographers has been named one of the top five exhibits to see in the world (Huffington Post). Through more than 150 images, the exhibition depicts the furiously intense period of modernisation, immigration and change in Brazil. Through the four different photographers’ prints, you can see four different takes on the period of transformation – from Thomaz Farkas’s abstract images and the realism of José Medeiros’s, to the stark industrial photos of Hans Gunter Flieg and the modernist commentary of Marcel Gautherot.
One of the most dramatic studies of the show is the effect of change and industrialisation on the indigenous people.
O Paço, a praça e o morro (The palace, the square, and the hill)
Instituto Moreira Salles 24/06/2016 to 28/08/2016
This exhibition, looking at the Centro district of Rio, offers an interesting comparison between today’s bustling district and that of the late 19th century to early 20th century. The black and white photos portray historic sites such as Imperial Palace and Morro do Castelo (Castle Hill), with some images depicting the demolition of the latter. This is a chance to see Rio de Janeiro before post war industrialisation and that period of change, which influenced what it has become today.
Rio de Janeiro gosto de você, gosto dessa gente feliz (Rio de Janeiro I like you, like this happy people)
Also in Rio’s Naïf museum, you can see a huge seven metre by four metre canvas which acts as a large panoramic window with a view over the major Brazilian city. Created by Lia Mittarakis (the Brazilian painter who has had his work featured on the cover of the Time Magazine), the delightfully detailed major work features Christ the Redeemer with his welcoming outstretched arms,which seemingly acts as a magnet for the city which closes in around him and Guanabara Bay. Like any megacity, Brazil’s Rio has its problems, but looking at these unsullied works of art at the Naif museum, makes them seem like they must be a world away.
Rio de Janeiro Naïf (Rio de Janeiro Naïve)
This refreshing and uninhibited collection, which represents 40 locations in Rio de Janeiro, has been created by 10 painters and fits in nicely to the naïve art theme that the Museum Internacional de Arte Naïf prides itself on. The colourful and unpretentious artworks give off a jovial vibe, and the feeling that they have been created with passion, rather than a rigid precision.
O Poeta Voador Santos Dumont (The Flying Poet, Santos Dumont)
Museu do Amanha 26/04/2016 to 30/10/2016
You may remember seeing Leonardo da Vinci’s somewhat erratic ideas for flying inventions, well here is a Brazilian who, following in the Italian’s footsteps, combined innovation with artistic license. Santos Dumont’s story is told through audiovisual displays and hands-on exhibits and includes full-size replicas of the 14 Bis and Demoiselle aircrafts.
The show looks at the inspiration gained from a Brazilian entrepreneur who was not out for his own gains, but to share with the world the possibilities he envisioned. For this reason he did not seek out patents on his work, but released his ideas out into the design community for sharing. In the five different sections of the exhibition, you can see prototypes of Dumont’s ideas, historical documents and photos on screen, and a documentary about the man himself. You can also find out about the dynamics of flight in the Paper Airplanes workshop.