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Contacts and proximities: artistic influences and sociocultural context of the photographic production of Claudia Andujar and Maureen Bisilliat

Grant number: 18/25159-6
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2019
Effective date (End): January 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Sylvia Caiuby Novaes
Grantee:Kelly Ichitani Koide
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


I propose an analysis of the photographical constructions of Claudia Andujar and Maureen Bisilliat from three perspectives. The first one consists in investigating the artistic influences and the cultural context during their formative years, mostly in 1940-1950s in the US. Then, I will characterize the sociocultural and political context concerning the period that both artists arrived in Brazil and began their photographical production, paying special attention to the relation between photography and Brazilian contemporary art. Finally, I will analyze the interviews that will be done by Sylvia Caiuby Novaes with both photographers, in which images will trigger and construct memories and autobiographical narratives, in order to understand how Andujar and Bisilliat have constructed their works, by using another visual strategy: their contact sheets. This material will allow me to discuss with the artists about what was left aside: either in the construction of an aesthetical or political discourse (e.g., by choosing to portray the beauty of certain indigenous populations and of specific social groups, instead of showing their misery and destruction), or in the selection of certain photographs to the detriment of other images in the construction of visual narratives. I emphasize the importance of contact sheets as an essential tool in the photographical process (that became obsolete, nowadays, with the use of digital images), since they expose the creative methods and the strategies of pictorial composition used by some of the greatest photographers of the XXth century. Therefore, I intend to investigate the proximities between the trajectories of these two artists, how they made contact with Brazilian populations through photography, and what their contact sheets reveal.

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