My idea from now on is to develop that transition between the inert object and the sacred object. It is simply a religious position in photography that I wish to adopt.” – Mario Cravo Neto.
Mario Cravo Neto was introduced to sculpture and photography by his father, the sculptor Mario Cravo Jùnior. In 1968 he enrolled at the Art Student League in New York, where he studied for two years. In 1970 he returned to Bahia, where he lived and worked until his untimely death in 2009.
Now the first ever solo show of his work comes to the UK, care of Autograph ABP, a charity that works internationally in photography and film, cultural identity, race, representation and human rights.
The exhibition comprises two series of photographs: 20 black and white studio portraits from The Eternal Now series produced during the 1980s and 1990s, and 20 colour prints from the Laróyè series produced in the 2000s, during the latter part of his career before his death in 2009.
The large-scale black and white photographs are characterised by the use of inanimate objects and animals in conjunction with human bodies, giving the images a sculptural and tactile quality reminiscent of European still life paintings from the 17th and 18th century, with symbolic meanings derived from Candomblé.
In contrast, Cravo Neto’s later colour works depict urban life in Salvador. Rather than provide a documentary account of the city and its people, Cravo Neto pays homage to Èsù, a trickster divinity and overseer of the cross roads between the material and spiritual world.
Mario Cravo Neto: A Serene Expectation of Light is curated by Mark Sealy MBE at Autograph ABP, in collaboration with guest curator Gabriela Salgado.
Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA
15 January – 2 April 2016
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday: 11am-6pm. Thursday: 11am-9pm. Saturday: 12-6pm.
Closed Sundays, Mondays and Bank Holidays.
Rivington Place is fully accessible.