Biography

Geraldo de Barros began his investigations into photography in the mid-1940s in São Paulo. Invited by a friend to photograph soccer teams, de Barros’s first camera was built from a kit. Intrigued by the medium, he soon lost interest in pursuing commercial photography. He built a small photo studio and bought a 1939 Rolleiflex and, in 1949, he joined the Foto Cine Club Bandeirante, which was one of the few forums for the city’s photography enthusiasts. Members of the group were interested in pictorial photography and de Barros’s explorations of abstraction were met with little interest; his photographs were almost never included in the club’s exhibitions. That same year, de Barros was invited to create a photo laboratory in the new Museu de Arte de São Paulo, an important gesture toward including photography in contemporary art spaces.

De Barros’s work from this period is characterized by scraped negatives, multiple exposures, and an interest in chance occurrences. He met art critic Mario Pedrosa and became interested in Gestalt theory and occupational therapy. Adon Peres writes, “The experience was to prove crucial for Geraldo, opening the way to far-ranging considerations on figure and form in relation to freedom of representation. Geraldo’s work, likewise, took on an ethical and human dimension that it was to retain throughout his life.” In 1950, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) invited de Barros to exhibit his photographs, and he showed a selection from his Fotoformas series. The exhibition led to a fellowship opportunity to study abroad in Europe. Ironically, his studies in Europe would redirect his artistic work away from photography. While traveling, he studied painting and printmaking, and met important artists and theorists including Max Bill, Giorgio Morandi, and Francois Morellet.

In 1952, de Barros returned to Brazil, and he became a central figure in São Paulo’s Concrete art movement. Interested in industrial design and modernization processes, he founded a collectivist furniture factory, Unilabor, in 1954. “(He) became interested in concepts such as the industrialization of the artistic gesture, the reproducibility of works of art, and, as a natural progression, in design and graphic art,” Peres writes. His work was included in the 1956 Exposição Nacional de Arte Concreta in São Paulo and in the 1960 exhibition Konkrete Kunst, 50 Jahre Entwicklung, organized by Max Bill in Zürich. In the mid-1960s, he left Unilabor and founded Hobjeto furniture factory. He also became interested in the social criticisms offered by Pop Art; in 1964, he showed figurative paintings with Nelson Leirner.

Although internationally known for his innovations in photography, de Barros actively worked with the medium only during two periods of his life: 1945-1951, and 1996-1998. In 1993, his photographs from the earlier period were shown at the Musée de l’Élysée in Lausanne. This series of work, called the Fotoformas, drew from the techniques of engraving and collage. De Barros made montages, superimposing images from the urban landscape of São Paulo over geometric forms. In failing health in the late 1990s, he returned to photography, creating a series of work called Sobras, in which he used family photographs as his support for collage, montage, and new geometric explorations. De Barros died in 1998.

Quote

“A photograph belongs to the one who makes something out of it, not necessarily to the one who took it.”

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2017

Geraldo de Barros: Sobras, Document Gallery, Chicago, USA

 

Geraldo de Barros: Fotoformas e Sobras, Fundação Arpad-Szenes/Vieira da Silva, Lisbon, Portugal

2016

Geraldo de Barros: Off Center, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, Texas

 

Geraldo de Barros: Industrial, Galeria Luciana Brito, São Paulo, Brazil

2015

Geraldo de Barros and Photography, SESC Belezinho, São Paulo, Brazil

2014

Geraldo de Barros and Photography, Instituto Moreira Salles, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Tierney Gardarin Gallery, New York, USA

2013

Geraldo de Barros- Jogos de Dados + Sobras (1980-1990), SESC Vila Mariana, São Paulo, Brazil

 

Geraldo de Barros: What remains? The Photographer’s Gallery, London, UK

2010

Entre Tantos: Geraldo de Barros, Caixa Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil

2009

Geraldo de Barros- Modulação de mundos, SESC Pinheiros, São Paulo, Brazil

2008 

Sicardi Gallery, Houston, Texas

2007

Sobras + Fotoformas, Galeria Brito Cimino, São Paulo, Brazil

 

Fotonoviembre 2007 – IX Bienal International de Fotografía, Centro de Fotografía Isla de Tenerife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain

 

Desenho Constructivista Brasiliero, Museu de Arte Moderna Rio de Janiero, Brazil

 

Fragmentos: Modernismo na fotografia brasiliera, Galeria Bergamin, São Paulo, Brazil

2006

Brasiliana MASP – Moderna contemporanea, Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand – MASP, São Paulo, Brazil

 

MAM [NA] OCA, Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, Brazil

 

Concreta 56. A raiz da forma, Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, Brazil

 

Pincelada – Pintura e M´todo, Institute Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, Brazil

 

Sem título, 2006 – Comodato Eduardo Branddão e Jan Field, Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, Brazil

2005

Geraldo de Barros, Galerie Guy Bärtschi, Genève, Switzerland.

 

A(s)simetrias, Galeria Brito Cimino, São Paulo, Brazil

2004

Inverted Utopias, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas

2002 

Fotoformas- 1923- 1998, retrospectiva, curadoria Reinhold

 

Misselbeck, Fundacao Gulbenkian, Lisboa

 

Forma Brazil, The Americas/Society, New York

2001 

Sobras e Fotoformas, Retrospective, Ulmer Museum, Ulm, Germany

2000

Heterotopias," Reina Sofia museum Madrid, Spain

 

Fotoformas: Retrospective, Musée de L’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland

 

Sobras e Fotoformas, Instituto Itaú Cultural, Campinas, Brazil

1999 

Fotoformas- 1923-1998, retrospectiva, curadoria Reinhold 

 

Misselbeck, Museum Ludwig, Colonia 

 

Sobras, curadoria, Rienhold Misselbeck, Sesc Pompeia, Sao Paulo, Brazil 

 

Geraldo de Barros, Galeria Brito Cimino, São Paulo, Brazil 

 

Geraldo de Barros- no Acervo do, Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Galeria Brito Cimino, Sao Paulo, Brazil 

1998

Traces on the Glass, FotoFest 1998, Sicardi-Sanders Gallery, Houston, Texas

1996

Geraldo de Barros, pioneer, Cultural Center of the Bank of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Geraldo de Barros Fotoformas, Cultural Foundation of Curitiba, Brazil

 

Geraldo de Barros, photographs, Alexandre Mottier Gallery, Geneva, Switzerland

1995

Fotoformas, Camargo Villaça Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil

1994

Geraldo de Barros, photographer, Museum of Image and Sound, São Paulo, Brazil

1993

Casa de Rosas, São Paulo, Brazil

 

Geraldo de Barros, painter and photographer, Musée de L’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland

1991

Dice games, Mercato Del Sale Gallery, Milan, Italy

 

The artist’s universe when young, Paço das Artes, São Paulo, Brazil

 

21st São Paulo Biennial, Brazil. Awarded second prize

1990

Dice games, Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo, Brazil

1989

Dice games, Contemporary Art Museum of Campinas, Brazil

1987

Tschudi Gallery, Glarus, Switzerland

1986

Thomas Cohn Gallery, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Fernando Milan Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil

 

42nd Venice Biennial, Italy

1979

15th São Paulo Biennial, Brazil

1977

12 Years of Painting, Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo, Brazil

1967

9th São Paulo Biennial, Brazil. Awarded acquisition prize

1965

Atrium Gallery, São Paulo, Brazil

 

Museum of Modern Art, Buenos Aires, Argentina

1954

Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo, Brazil

1953

Second São Paulo Biennial, Brazil. Awarded the acquisition prize

1951

First São Paulo Biennial, Brazil. Awarded the acquisition prize

1950

Fotoforma, São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand Museum of Art, Brazil

1947

Municipal Theater of São Paulo, Brazil

Selected Public Collections

São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand Museum of Art, Brazil

Contemporary Art Museum of São Paulo, MAC-USP, Brazil

Pinacoteca of the state of São Paulo, Brazil

Itamaraty Museum, Brasilia, Brazil

Museum of Image and Sound, São Paulo, Brazil

Biennial Foundation of São Paulo Collection, Brazil

Venice Biennial Collection, Italy

Curitiba Museum, Parana, Brazil

Elysée Museum, Lausanne, Switzerland

Tschudi Gallery, Glarus, Switzerland

Swiss Bank Union Collection, Geneva, Switzerland

Contemporary Art Foundation of the state of Geneva, Switzerland

Contemporary Art Museum, Grenoble, France

Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany

Archivio Della Nuova Scrittura, Milan, Italy

Max Bill Collection, Zurich, Switzerland

Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York

The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas

Museum of Modern Art, New York

Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami