Christian Cravo

New Landscapes with Distant Textures

Some artists perceive their creation processes as a voyage. Others choose digression to try to understand life through photography. For them to travel physically is to burst from one state into another one, where feeling is part of the process of approaching things for what they are. To deviate from what had already been accomplished is a respectful way of finding relief, activating other poetic mechanisms to find the memories of affection once again.

In his essay “Shadows and Light”, Cravo makes a digression out of his photography. In this new work he makes a reflection, a proposal of an aesthetic split. Better to say, he connects his intuition and searches a given cartography of sandy landscapes, in the same way that our existence in this world is also made of quick sand. As a ritual, a meeting with photography and talent, the act of traveling is inherent to the work of Cravo.

“Shadows and Light” is the result of seven incursions through five African countries, which started in 2011. In journeys that lasted from 20 to 25 days in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania, Cravo entered his territory of work; the deep and intense photographic immersion. Let’s not consider boundaries or geographic territories. Space is more symbolic. This is where the photographer’s soul meets his past, his roots, his reasons for living, as well as his search for new paths and achievements. Cravo stands out as one of the most prominent Brazilian photographers of the last few decades, always connected to topics of religious expression. The documentations of faith in the hinterland of the Brazilian northeast and in Haiti are fundamental works in the history of Brazilian photography. And with the same devotion dedicated to the mysteries of human nature, Cravo set out to search for experiences and practices in the landscapes and animals of the
African continent.

Born in the state of Bahia, within a very strong artistic circle, Cravo lived in Denmark until the age of twenty-two. Previous essays came out of the need of getting to know Brazil and its cultural aspects, the human warmth, the expression and religious manifestation, which can rarely be felt in a Scandinavian country. Following the northeast of Brazil, Haiti came out naturally.

Why this 360-degree turn in the topic? Nothing is so conscious or Cartesian. Two facts marked Christian Cravo’s new routes. In 2009, his father, the artist and photographer Mário Cravo Neto died, leaving a masterly work and generations inebriated by his influence. In early 2010, an earthquake in Haiti destroyed a great part of the country. Cravo, who had worked there for ten years, and having produced his powerful essay In the Gardens of Eden, lost friends. The artist defines this phase as a human disappointment. The challenge of reinventing himself and defining a new route was something concrete that emerged.

In this exhibition, the 29 works do not follow a chronological logic, a given objective narrative or methodological process of cataloguing. The ferric and mineral tone of the enlargements, a result of the platinum/palladium process, emphasizes even more the conceptual possibilities that were opened up for Cravo. Thus, “Shadows and Light” – with its aesthetic and abstract shapes brought the photographer closer to his roots, and even more so to the works of his father and of Mario Cravo Junior, his grandfather. Through his photography, Cravo perceives that he can deviate in order to gain an insight for understanding himself and his history, through the plasticity acquired while traveling all over the world. And who knows, to find comfort while creating and projecting new landscapes of distant textures, joined by the vision of someone who is searching and who is restless about life.

Alexandre Belém

Brazil +55.11.98089.6521