Travel to Brasilia with photographer Vincent Fournier

Travel to Brasilia with photographer Vincent Fournier

We tour Brazil’s mesmerising capital through the lens of artist and photographer Vincent Fournier and his latest book, Brasília: A Time Capsule

Brazil’s famous capital, Brasilia, a city created from scratch using copious amounts of Modernist architecture, has been photographed by many. The new city was inaugurated on the 21 April 1960 and, including works by some of the country’s biggest names in the field, has been studied, visited and loved by architecture enthusiasts and critics alike ever since. So what prompted artist and photographer Vincent Fournier to create his own series there? ‘[It was the challenge of brining] my own vision, my style, to this city that has been so photographed!’ he explains. 

In 2012, Fournier embarked on a project to travel to Brasilia and capture its essence, expressed through his own experiences and aesthetic. The series was all wrapped up by 2017, produced during two trips there. So captivating was the result that the MET (the Metropolitan Museum in New York) acquired five of his large formats photographs in 2016. ‘It was a request from Beatrice Galilee, Associate Curator of Architecture and Design in the department of Modern and Contemporary Art,’ he recalls. ‘The images are now part of the permanent collection.’

Vincent Fournier Brasilia cover

Wondering around Brasilia’s generous avenues and well known attractions helped him determine his angles and shots. Setting up each one was fairly easy, he says – the main challenge was ‘getting the authorizations for the access to the different buildings and make pictures.’ 

The series includes many of the city’s beloved landmarks and several Niemeyer classics, such as the National Museum, the Chamber of Deputies in the dome above the Assembly Room, and the Itamaraty Palace (the home of the Foreign Relations Ministry). Fournier’s gaze illuminates them in a unique way, as part of his wider, recurrent themes and fascinations surrounding mythologies of the future, such as space exploration, utopian architecture, artificial intelligence and living technology. Similar topics were investigated during his series titled Space Project, which he launched in 2010. 

‘My interest in the city of Brasilia comes from a mixture of fascination and nostalgia for the stories and representations of the Future,’ explains the photographer. ‘Indeed the Brazilian capital designed by Oscar Niemeyer and built in four years in the middle of a desert, embodies the vision of the future in the 60s.’ §

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