Formal Registry Niemeyer Project
Formal Registry Niemeyer Project

Bernardo Olmos.

Formal Registry II Niemeyer (2008).

Statements and backgroung.

It was in 2007 when i started photographic records for architecture, most of them in Caracas, focused on modern buildings developed during the zenit of Venezuelan economy during the XX century.

By that time, a series called Formal Registry I: Villanueva took most of my time since the main metropolitan scale projects developed in Caracas required a lot of effort in order to be photographed. Two years were necessary to complete this reportaje. Its was finally shown at Venezuelan Institute of Architects and got recognition from Villanueva Foundation.

With the past of time, Formal Registry I: Villanueva, became part of a bigger series called C Series; a group of images that covers not only the modern projects develop by Villanueva, but also all important buildings from all periods and styles.

In 2008, since i am an architecture photojournalist committed to a type of social portrait that is only possible through reading structures around us, i decided it was time to explore another icon of latinamerican modernism, this time the brazilian (still alive by then) Oscar Niemeyer and photograph his work in the biggest cities of his country. I flew to Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janerio. In this last stop, i could meet Niemeyer at his office in Atlantica Ave. I introduced him my work, i portrayed and interviewed him.

Oscar Niemeyer took part of a moment when Latin America was a depository of European utopias and romantic ideals. All his works, with a doubtless modern accent, represent the innovation and changes occurring in a continent where modern models were possible thanks to its wealth and desire for greatness.

Formal Registry II: Niemeyer is the second series based on an architect heritage from Latin America. Its predecessor (Formal Registry I: Villanueva, 2007) was composed of images that hide the decline and oblivion present in Caracas ́s modern architecture.

In this series dedicated to Niemeyer, instead, the composition frames buildings without affable looks, transformed now in straight photography. The camera is focused to discover the sinuous geometry of reinforced concrete, the architectural vocabulary of his creator and records the current state of these infrastructures.

I also wanted to elaborate a series that compared the buildings whose construction was demanded regularly by the urban entity versus artificial projects created to satisfy the nation’s modern expectations such as the structures in Brasília.

It represents a portrait of Brazilian dreams and ideals, the way in which this country adapted modern theories for urban design (all of them imported from Europe), making them lucid and posible for its own cotidianity.

Formal Registry II: Niemeyer covers public, commercial and residential buildings; in Brasilia, the Itamaraty Palace, Three Powers square, Planalto Palace, metropolitan Cathedral, National Museum, Esplanade of Ministries, National Congress, Supreme Federal Court and Cultural Complex of the Republic. In Sao Paulo, Copan Building, the Covered Plaza and Auditorium at Ibirapuera park and the Tribute to Latin America complex. In Rio de Janiero, the former National Hotel, Contemporary Art Museum, Municipal Theatre and Niemeyer Foundation headquarters (these last three at Niteroi, a suburb of Rio de Janeiro).

For this body of work, monochromatic images were taken from soft grain black and white films, developed in situ. All color photos are from digital camera.

The Exhibitions at American Institute of Architects, Miami and Los Angeles.

For 2015 I have been invited to present Formal Registry II: Niemeyer in two different chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Centers for Architecture and Design, both are solo shows.

In Miami, the exhibition will start on february of 2015 and in Los Angeles will be launched in april of 2015.

AIA Miami is a big scale exhibition project because its facilities´s proportions make it looks like a museum room: high ceilings, we will build panels and floating walls to redirect the reading sequence of images and and redistribute the space in function of the show. All 31 selected images will be printed in big format, 24”x26” or 36”x51”.

AIA Los Angeles is a smaller but powerful spot for architecture and cultural movement in California. Here, the selected images will be printed and shown in 12”x18”.

In both cases, the curatorship have been in hands of Rene Gonzalez a renowned architect who lives and works in Miami.

The Book

We plan to order 40 books that contains the complete collection of images of Formal Registry II: Niemeyer (around 100 photos) and a depth essay about Latin American modern architecture. These books will be donated to libraries at architecture schools, public libraries, American Institute of Architects (Miami and LA), and also to photography academies in both cities. The idea is to offer this first edition as a non profit publication. The book has been completely design by me and it is ready to be printed.

The Conferences

As part of activities planed for the show, there are three lectures/conferences at no cost aimed to students of arhcitecture, arts, photography and general public. 

1. Niemeyer and his contribution to modern/contemporary architecture.

2. Contemporary Art movement in photography. 

3. Contemporary architecture photography.

4. Contemporary art curatorship (amied for new artist who wants to take part in the scene).


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