Through the Lens of Time: Christian Cravo’s Majestic Ode to the African Landscape at Throckmorton Fine Art
NEW YORK — Stepping through the hallowed halls of Throckmorton Fine Art, an air of serene majesty envelopes visitors, the quiet hum of anticipation marking the unveiling of a truly captivating collection – the elegant large-format photographs capturing the elusive spirit of the African landscape, carefully curated from the seasoned lens of Christian Cravo, one of Brazil’s most acclaimed photographers. The intricate dance of lights and shadows offers a rare glimpse into the heart of the southern African continent, as Cravo masterfully weaves the tale of a world that exists both within and beyond our reach. Each of the twenty-eight photographs, rendered in timeless black and white, subtly holds up a mirror to the delicate interplay of raw natural beauty and stark human realities etched upon this vast terrain. A breath of silent wind whispers through the savannah in one image, the quiet rustle of leaves resonates in the crisp air of another, carrying the untold stories of wildlife that call this land home. The lens pauses to admire the intricate patterns on an animal’s hide, capturing nature’s artwork in its purest form. Breathtaking geological formations speak volumes of an age-old existence, their silent dialogue with the passing time a testament to the resilience of Mother Nature, and the harmony of existence that could be. Cravo’s photographs stand as a testament to this eternal Africa, one that existed long before the rest of the world caught up. Yet the same photographs cannot help but remind us of the imminent threat looming over this stunning paradise – human encroachment, and the existential crisis of climate change. Each photograph, a silent plea, a gentle nudge towards awareness, a reminder of the pressing need for stewardship. The canvas of Africa, in Cravo’s capable hands, is far removed from the realm of the picturesque. They present a unique perspective, a quiet study of form and shape, of the fascinating interplay between light and shadow, each photograph a subtle exploration of abstraction. With a discerning eye and deft execution, Cravo manages to reinvigorate the timeless appeal of these subjects, creating a series of stunning visuals that seamlessly align with our contemporary aesthetic sensibilities.
Ligia Canonga, the noted critic, couldn’t have captured it better when she praised Cravo for his exceptional ability to recover the poetic potential for photography. Indeed, every image elicits a profound sense of empathy, a connection that transcends geographical boundaries, and tugs at the strings of shared humanity. As a Brazilian, Cravo carries with him a deep appreciation of the intricate ties that bind Africa and the Americas. Four out of ten Africans brought to the Americas found themselves in Brazil, their rich heritage deeply intertwined with the cultural fabric of the land. His intimate connection with this heritage is evident in his extensive work in Salvador, the Brazilian city most associated with African descent, and in the northeastern state of Bahia. His experience in Haiti further adds to the depth of his understanding and engagement with Africa, a relationship that has spanned an impressive fifteen years. Born in 1974, to a Danish mother and a Brazilian father, Cravo comes from a lineage steeped in art. The grandson of a sculptor and the son of a noted photographer, his life is a testament to the power of art, education, and exposure. His work, celebrated in various exhibits and adorning the walls of renowned museums worldwide, is a testament to the power of his creative vision. This collection, marking his final years of work on the continent, offers a poignant closure to Cravo’s African narrative, encapsulating the spirit of a time and place in its profound simplicity. So, take a moment, step into the world of Throckmorton Fine Art, and lose yourself in the captivating imagery of an Africa, as seen through Christian Cravo’s lens.
Experience the untamed beauty of this ancient land, each photograph a love letter to the wilderness and its magnificent inhabitants. Feel the whisper of the Savannah breeze, the unyielding pulse of the African heartland in every image. Bask in the silent music of the natural world, the rhythmic patterns on an animal’s hide, the stoic grandeur of the geological formations – visual poetry that defies the constraints of time and space. Journey across the dunes of time with Cravo as your guide, from the virgin wilderness of yesteryears to the changing landscapes of the present, marked by the footprints of human civilization and the looming shadow of climate change. Within the realm of these photographs, you will find more than just picturesque landscapes. You will find an invitation to introspect, to ponder over our shared responsibility towards these extraordinary ecosystems, to acknowledge the urgency of conservation and environmental stewardship. Each image, a silent testament to the resiliency of nature, also holds within its frame a mirror to our actions, our choices, and their profound impact on the world we inhabit.
Yet, even as the photographs shed light on these harsh realities, they never lose sight of the aesthetic, transforming everyday elements of the African landscape into abstract masterpieces, a dance of light and shadow. Cravo’s Brazil-rooted perspective breathes life into these images, enriching them with a depth of understanding and an appreciation for the intertwined histories of Africa and the Americas. This perspective, woven into the fabric of his work, draws attention to the diasporic connections that bind us, highlighting the shared lineage and cultural heritage that spans continents. It is this deep-seated connection that makes his work not just visually compelling, but also emotionally resonant, touching upon the threads of shared humanity that unite us across geographical boundaries. Born into a family of artists, with artistry running through his veins, Cravo carries the legacy of his lineage forward, his photographs an embodiment of his worldly wisdom and artistic prowess. His work, a convergence of his education, travels, and experiences, captures the essence of his subject with a sensitivity that transcends the physicality of the lens.
The exhibit at Throckmorton Fine Art offers a final, panoramic view of Cravo’s African sojourn, a culmination of fifteen years of exploration, discovery, and artistic creation. This final selection of photographs, marking the end of his time in Africa, holds within its frames the timeless beauty of a world on the brink of change. So, as you walk through this exhibit, immerse yourself in the world of Cravo’s Africa, a world where the serene and the chaotic, the timeless and the transient, the personal and the universal, converge. Let the images envelop you, speak to you, resonate within you. Allow yourself to be moved by their quiet strength, their poignant beauty. Experience the profound connection between man, animal, and nature – a testament to the shared destiny that binds us all. Let Cravo’s images guide you on a journey of discovery and reflection, inspiring a renewed sense of respect for the natural world and a deeper understanding of our role within it. This is not just an exhibit. It’s an experience, a journey, a call to action. It is a celebration of the African landscape in all its raw and unfiltered glory, and a timely reminder of the delicate balance between progress and preservation. And most importantly, it is an opportunity for each of us to become not just observers, but participants in the narrative of our planet’s future.
Christian Cavo, Realm of This World Exhibit is on display at Throckmorton Fine Art located at 145 E 57th St, New York, NY 10022 from May 11, 2023 until July 8, 2023. For more information, please visit https://throckmorton-nyc.com or call 212.223.1059.