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"Berlinscapes by Tuca Vieira at 1500 Gallery" by Malaika Byng
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Berlin architecture captured by a Brazilian photographer, exhibited in a New York gallery. It may sound a strange equation but this very dislocation lends Tuca Vieira's Berlinscapes series, on show at 1500 Gallery, its curios allure.
The São Paolo photographer – who recently scooped the 2010 Premio Porto Seguro (Brazil's most important annual photography prize) – has drawn on the rigorous formality and objectivity of the Düsseldorf School of Photography and translated it for his own ends, instilling it with a dose of Brazilian sensuality. Like the Düsseldorf School teachings of Bernd and Hilla Becher – who's pupils included Andreas Gursky and Candida Höfer - he depicts functional architecture and carefully numbers his works, but captures his subjects at night altered by a dramatic play with light and shadow.
Vieira created these startling images while on a residency in Berlin. His photographs show the collision between the old and new Berlin, the divergence in prosperity and the territorial battles - hinted at through details like monuments, markings on walls, and boundaries like fences and doors - and though man is absent, his presence is keenly felt. The complex picture of the city that emerges in Vieira's photographs is made all the more potent by being stripped of its cultural context in the New York gallery.