“The world is in peril, both nature and humanity. Yet this cry of alarm is heard so often that it is now largely ignored – we have lost touch with the essence of life on Earth. This project is designed to reconnect us to how the world was before humanity altered it almost beyond recognition.”

Sebastião Salgado

 

The result of an eight year journey through thirty-two countries, traversing landscapes in the last wild places on Earth, this astonishing exhibition investigates the people and places that have survived the ruinous attentions of humanity. Salgado wanted to return to the origins of life, searching for a world untouched, one that recalls the Eden that time has erased. He offers us a window to the primordial corners of creation, inviting viewers to become acquainted with animals, plants, and indigenous tribes that represent pure nature in all its pristine glory.

 

From the series Genesis © Sebastiao Salgado

 

It is a scarcely believable enterprise, connecting the Nenets of Siberia to the Brazilian rainforest, the flying foxes of Madagascar to the Patagonian Prairies. The photographs number in the hundreds, all shot in Salgado’s habitual monochrome with a spectrum ranging from coal black to burning white, and a thousand tones of grey in between. The lighting is spectacular; the compositions are hypnotizing. The decision to photograph these subjects in black and white is extremely significant for it reinforces the notion that everything is on an equal footing – nothing assumes priority or preference – this is a planet of purity and innocence, and these images record mankind and nature in co-existence.

 

Salgado often states that his work has political undertones, conceived as a path towards helping humankind re-connect with nature. The voyage he says represents a form of “planetary anthropology designed to propose that this uncontaminated world must be preserved.” On display until 14th September, this show is a sumptuous homage to flora and fauna, showcasing Salgado’s virtuoso coupling of progressive vision and traditional practice that places Genesis as one of the finest series produced in the twenty-first century.

 

For further information regarding the exhibition, visit the museum’s website.

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Simon Hall, Buenos Aires