Brasilia > Paintings

When I began to grow interested in the work of Oscar Niemeyer, I was still almost a child - you were in those days, when you were twelve. Cities, space, architecture, and modernity all fascinated me, and one day I chanced on a photo of Brasília, in a magazine my parents subscribed to. I think it was on the back cover, and there were two photos, one above the other. One showed the Manhattan sky line, probably taken from the bank of the East River. In the foreground was an empty lot, and it must have been raining, since there were huge puddles filling the potholes. A kid was leaping over these puddles, and the photographer had frozen him in flight over one of the watery holes. The distorted shape of the child's effort and tension -a forerunner of Billy Elliot-, was reflected in the liquid mirror. It was visually extremely beautiful, and full of life. You could see the New York skyscrapers outlined like rough black lace, shot against the sunset, and this leaping child, immortalized above his puddle. Beneath this vivid city photo, there was a photo of Brasília. The contrast was striking, and yet strangely these two pictures were in perfect harmony. They seemed to be talking to each other. The Brasília photo was also in black and white. It showed the Three Powers Plaza, with Bruno Giorgi' "Warriors", a little bit of the Planalto, and of course the Twin Towers and the white Domes of Congress.

It was simply splendid. Hieratically empty, and yet animated by a sort of secret life, an indefinable pulse, that expressed the mind of the creator of this site. It looked like nothing I had ever seen before in my life. I felt hypnotized by this strange, newly born urban design, unlike any other on Earth, something you couldn't put a label on.

It was midway between sculpture and architecture, between the vastness of buildings and the simple message of brotherhood, justice and equality that inspired its design. This brand new kind of architecture suggested a better world.










© Jacques Benoit. Design, œuvres, photographies et textes par Jacques Benoit et placés sous son copyright. Les contenus provenant d'autres sources sont crédités comme tel, ainsi que leur origine.
© Jacques Benoit. Design, works, photographies and texts by Jacques Benoit and under the author’s copyright. Except when derived from other sources and then mentioned as such.