The exhibition Kurt Klagsbrunn: Um Fotógrafo Humanista no Rio (1940-1960) [Kurt Klagsbrunn: A Humanist Photographer in Rio] presents around 200 photos of the estimated total of 100 thousand images the Austrian artist created in Rio. Having Jewish origins, Klagsbrunn (1918 – 2005) arrived in Rio in 1939 as a refugee, and discovered there his vocation for photography. Soon he became one of the most important interpreters of the city, which was then the capital of Brazil, creating a broad body of work capable of capture the singularities of the carioca society of the time.
With a Rolleiflex camera, he portrayed the most banal scenes and the most glamorous events, and characters from the street vendor to international stars, like Orson Welles. He created, thus, an anthropology of the everyday life in Rio de Janeiro, analysing the circulation of affections and the systems of social hierarchy.
Classified by the curators Marcia Melo, Suzane Worcman and Paulo Herkenhoff as a humanist, his delicate perception also took interest in the African-Carioca culture, resisting to the strong repression to samba, candomblé and capoeira, and made a harsh critique to Brazilian society by calling attention to child labour with images that expose the fragility of children in a country that didn’t offer to them nor education nor health.
The exhibition was coordinated by the couple Marta and Victor Hugo Klagsbrunn, nieces of the photographer, and integrates the many activities celebrating Rio de Janeiro’s 450th anniversary.