In the year of 1974, the Contemporary Art Museum of the University of São Paulo hosted the exhibition Fotografia Experimental Polonesa [Polish Experimental Photography], which resulted in the addition of 38 works to the Museum collection. After 40 years, this set of artworks is a testimony to a period in which an intense debate regarding the end of the borders between art and photography took place, as well as to when the photographic image was beginning to be seen in museums and galleries. These works are also an example that the 1960s and 1970s were marked by experimentation and internationalization of certain procedures that led to the establishment of the so-called “expanded field”, in which photography went beyond the limits of the two-dimensionality of its traditional medium and blended with other imagery devices, becoming a common element in contemporary art.
This exhibition includes works that belong to the MAC USP collection since the 1970s, as well as recent acquisitions made in the last four years. There are also some photographs from the Banco Santos Collection, which is temporarily under the custody of the Museum. The exhibition covers the period from 1962 to 2010, which includes the decline of modern photography, the pioneer moment when photos were added to the collection of museums in Brazil and the current state of photography in which, through digital technologies, images became free from its material media and acquired unprecedented fluidity and plasticity. As of the late 1960s, we witnessed hybrid images resulting from a cross-cut dialogue between different techniques and knowledge, such as painting, sculpture, photography, video, cinema, theater, literature, journalism, fashion, design, science and computer programming, just to mention some of the multiple possibilities.
The different segments that comprise this show were organized based on works from the 1970s, since they are the predecessors of certain issues that are revisited in recently created works. The intention was not to present them as signs of innovative styles but as expressions of the many issues that mobilized photographers and/or artists regarding art, culture, politics and society in general at a time when deep changes were taking place. The purpose of the exhibition is to ultimately show that whereas the works purchased by a museum give new meaning to its collection, this same collection give a historical perspective to the recently-purchased works. These reciprocal relationships result in renewed possibilities for the understanding of both artistic phenomena and the contribution made by museums in contemporaneity.
© 2013 Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo