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Gathering more than nine million pieces, the National Library links the past and the future as it offers to the citizens of today treasures that are yet to be deciphered and recognized.

One such treasure is the Alair Gomes Collection, composed of various registers, including 16 thousand photographs and the 150 thousand negatives that were donated by his heirs in 1994. This legacy was increased as his original manuscripts were transferred in 2004 by his sister Aíla Gomes. The collection is composed of the prints (vintage) made by the photographer and the manuscripts referring to his academic and artistic activities, intimate diaries, studies on mathematics, physics, philosophy and art, lesson plans, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and a variety of printed materials.

The documental set reflects the constant dialog between science and art, a result of Alair Gomes’s multiple and varied background experimenting with mathematics, philosophy, and biology. An invitation to meditating and researching on subjectivity, art and eroticism as desire, awareness, and expression! The collection also presents the artist’s original view on the scene of Brazilian contemporary art, urban culture, homoerotic sociability, and Rio de Janeiro’s intellectual life in the 1970’s and 80’s.

Moving between frontiers, pushing our limits, and challenging labels, photography is a most capable means of artistic expression to instill new considerations. Between document and art, between banality and rarity, it makes us think.

Part and parcel of the cultural events commemorating the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, as a public institution of memory, knowledge and reflection, the National Library presents one of its most important contemporary collections, representing the life and oeuvre of a very particular photographer.


National Library Foundation

All photographic prints in this exhibition are original of season produced by the artist (vintage prints), in silver and gelatin paper; except images of Darkroom and No-story of a driver, which are reproductions, printed inkjet.