São Paulo–based photographer Mauro Restiffe traveled to Brasília, a capital famous for its modernist urban plan, for the first time in 2003. His arrival in the city coincided with the inauguration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose first term in office would dramatically alter Brazilian politics. These two photographs capture the celebrations, contrasting the iconic geometry of the city’s architecture with the spontaneous energy of the crowds. The pair of images might also be read as a “before” and “after,” juxtaposing Brazil’s historical past, exemplified by the nation’s motto, “order and progress,” with a disruptive moment of promise that transforms the imposing, rational landscape with the excess of new dreams.
Gallery label from Chosen Memories, April 30–September 9, 2023