Patricia Parinejad’s favela project on show at the Venice Architecture Biennale

On show at the Time Space Existence exhibition in Venice, the work of German photographer Patricia Parinejad focuses on Brazil’s favelas
On show at the Time Space Existence exhibition in Venice, the work of German photographer Patricia Parinejad focuses on Brazil’s favelas
(Image credit: Patricia Parinejad)

Berlin-based photographer Patricia Parinejad has been exploring Brazilian favelas for years. Photographing informal housing and capturing through her lens one of the South American country’s largest problems, the German photographer became fascinated by the favelas' intricate maze and the life and buildings within them. Working on several projects in Brazil, she soon fell in love with Rio de Janeiro.

'My project explores the remarkable reality of these informal settlements and the interlacing structures of the spontaneous architecture of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas,' she explains. 'The tapestry of buildings in such unexpected patterns and the creative energy exuding from the wildly interwoven structures is fascinating.'

Favelas have existed in the country since the late 19th century. Brazil’s urbanisation in the second half of the 20th century made the problem worsen, paving the path for the current situation – such as Rio de Janeiro’s – where a staggering 22 per cent of the city’s population live in slums. Beyond Brazil, there are about a billion people across the globe living in similar, inadequate housing. 

Parinejad spent months documenting houses, informal structures and surfaces, as well as portraits, creating a detailed and extensive collection of photographs depicting life, architecture and society in these labyrinthine Rio neighbourhoods. 'It is a dynamic city,' she says, 'full of joy.'

In keeping with 2016 Architecture Biennale director Alejandro Aravena’s theme on the role of architecture in civil society, housing and urbanisation problems, Parinejad’s captivating work is currently on show at the Time Space Existence exhibition in Venice.

'I am glad that the exhibit is on in Venice,' concludes the photographer. 'This way I can give these people a voice and a face and creating a tiny bit of awareness.'

The exhibition is generously supported by the German Savings Banks Association (DSGV).

Exhibit by Patricia Parinejad

Parinejad has been exploring Brazil for five years and fell in love with Rio’s dynamism, which gave birth to this project

(Image credit: Patricia Parinejad)

Close up photograph of a child

The photographs at Palazzo Mora are compiled by the artist and assembled in a simple and utilitarian installation, fitting the artwork’s aesthetic

(Image credit: Patricia Parinejad)

Favela in Brazil

The photographer became fascinated by the intricate maze of the favelas and the life and buildings within them

(Image credit: Patricia Parinejad)

Pile of building materials

While some favelas existed before, it was Brazil’s 20th century wave of urbanisation that made the problem especially acute

(Image credit: Patricia Parinejad)

A hammer

Now, a staggering 22 per cent of Rio de Janeiro’s population lives in slums

(Image credit: Patricia Parinejad)

Concrete wall close up

Parinejad spent months documenting houses, informal structures and surfaces, as well as taking portraits in Rio’s neighborhoods

(Image credit: Patricia Parinejad)

Old metal bar door

The project is in keeping with 2016 Architecture Biennale director Alejandro Aravena’s theme on the role of architecture in civil society, housing and urbanisation problems

(Image credit: Patricia Parinejad)

INFORMATION

For more information on the Patricia Parinejad visit the artist’s website (opens in new tab)

Photography: Patricia Parinejad

Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).