Variations of the Wild Body. Photographs by Eduardo Viveiros de Castro

November 2017 through March 2018
Weltkulturen Museum

Eduardo Viveiros de Castro is internationally recognized as one of today’s leading anthropologists. In the mid-1990s, he developed the theory of Amerindian perspectivism, which has had an outstanding influence on other fields of learning such as aesthetics, literary theory, political philosophy, and philosophy of law, and on artistic practices in particular. Few of his readers know that Viveiros de Castro was a photographer before becoming an anthropologist and that he had produced some of the most emblematic images of the artist Hélio Oiticica and the poet Waly Salomão, as well as stills for the filmmaker Ivan Cardoso (for whom he also wrote screenplays). This is the first exhibition to feature a comprehensive selection of his photographs including some three hundred images produced during his collaboration with the artists mentioned above as well as during the period when, as an ethnologist, he studied the Araweté, Kulina, Yanomami, and Yawalapíti Indian groups. The point of intersection between the two large sets that comprise the exhibition is in the centrality of the body. This emphasis on corporeality also informs the origin of the author’s anthropological reflection and distinguishes his entire intellectual trajectory—hence our view that this is crucial for the understanding of the double articulation, in his praxis, of photography and thought, art and anthropology.

The guiding thread for Variations of the Wild Body is a concatenation of excerpts from Viveiros de Castro’s essays and interviews through which we aim to emphasize the continuity between the two aspects: his ongoing image-based reflection on the body that makes up his photographic oeuvre, and his ethnological research and theoretical postulates. Textual fragments also contrast different segments of the exhibition — but they do so subtly, we would hope. They have not been separated by subtitles, since the idea is precisely to explore fluidity between different segments, pose dialogues, and particularly raise dialectical challenges across them. A similarly complex continuity may be seen in the relationship between his early countercultural-art photographs and later Indigenous cultural events (differentiated only by different framings). In Viveiros de Castro’s own words, there is “at the same time radical discontinuity and poetic continuity” between the photo of a dancer wearing an Hélio Oiticica cape and one of an Araweté shaman, for example. At the exhibition, according to the anthropologist-photographer, “the transformation of Oiticica’s ‘Be an outcast, be a hero’ into ‘Don’t be poor, be an Indian’” is what has been brought into question.

Eduardo Sterzi and Verónica Stigger

Eduardo Viveiros de Castro – Biography

1951 Born in Rio de Janeiro, on April 19 · 1966 Befriended future filmmaker Ivan Cardoso · 1969-1973 Graduated in social sciences from PUC ­– Rio de Janeiro · 1973-1981 Photographed in connection with Ivan Cardoso’s work · 1974-1977 Museu Nacional (UFRJ). Master’s dissertation Individual and Society in the Upper Xingu: The Yawalapíti, advisor Roberto DaMatta · 1976-1977 Field study among the Yawalapíti in the Upper Xingu (MT): first photographs with the Indias · 1977 Photographs of Yawalapíti shown in group exhibition on the invitation of Miguel Rio Branco · 1977- 1984 Museu Nacional, doctoral thesis on Araweté: Tupi-Guarani cosmological vision and individual,advisor Anthony Seeger · 1986 Araweté, os deuses canibais [Araweté, cannibal gods](Zahar/Anpocs) · 1978 Professor with the graduate social anthropology program at Museu Nacional. Conducted field study among the Kulina in Amazonas · 1979 Brief field study among the Yanomami in Roraima · 1980-1982 Secretary of the Brazilian Anthropology Association’s Indigenous Affairs committee · 1981-1983 Field study among the Araweté in the Ipixuna village (PA) for eleven month · 1983 Photographs of Araweté for the group exhibition Alguns índios [Some Indians] at Masp · 1989 Postdoctoral research at Université Paris X – Nanterre · 1991 Visiting professor at the University of Chicago (later returned there to teach, in 2004) · 1992 In the United States, From the enemy’s point of view, a translation of Araweté, os deuses canibais [literally “Araweté, cannibal gods”]. Showed photographs at a group exhibition called Araweté: Vision of a Tupi People of the Amazon at Centro Cultural São Paulo. Photos published in Araweté: o povo do Ipixuna [Araweté: the people of Ipixuna] (Cedi) · 1994 Visiting professor at the University of Manchester · 1994-2000 Head of the Social and Environmental Institute (ISA) · 1997-1998 Simón Bolívar Chair of Latin-American Studiess, University of Cambridge. Fellow of King’s College · 1998 Francophone award from the French Academy. Munro Lecture at Edinburg University · 1999-2001 Head of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS, Paris) · 2002 A inconstância da alma selvagem e outros ensaios de antropologia [The Inconstancy of the Indian Soul and Other Anthropological Essays] (Cosac Naify) · 2003 Coordinator of the Indigenous Transformations Center (NuTI) based at Museu Nacional. Keynotespeakerat the 5th Decennial Conference of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth · 2004 Érico Vanucci Mendes award · 2005 Chair of Humanities at UFMG’s Institute of Advanced Transdisciplinary Studies · 2006 Joint curator for Qu’est-ce qu’un corps?, Musée du Quai Branly’s inaugural exhibition in Paris · 2007 Book containing interviews from the Encontros collection (Azougue), edited by Renato Sztutman · 2009 In France, Métaphysiques cannibales. Lignes d’Anthropologie Post-Structurale (Presses Universitaires de France) · 2012 Full professor at Museu Nacional · 2014 Há mundo por vir? Ensaio sobre os medos e os fins [Is there a world to come? Essay on fears and ends] with Déborah Danowski (Cultura e Barbárie). Honorary doctorate from Université Paris X – Nanterre. Cannibal Metaphysics (Minneapolis: Univocal) · 2015 Brazilian version of Cannibal Metaphysics (Metafísicas canibais). The Relative Native. Essays on Indigenous Conceptual Worlds (Hau Books). Os involunt ários da pátria [The homeland’s nonvolunteers] (n-1 Edições). English version of Há mundo por vir? Ensaio sobre os medos e os fins, The Ends of the World (Polity Press). In Japan, Índio no kimagurena tamashii (インディオの気まぐれな魂 /) (Suiseisha, Tóquio)


Eduardo Sterzi (Porto Alegre / RS, 1973) is a writer, critic, and professor of literary theory at Unicamp. His dissertation on Murilo Mendes and the rhetoric of the sublime, for his master’s in theory of literature from PUC-RS, was followed by a thesis on Dante Alighieri and the origin of the modern lyrical for his doctorate in literary theory and history from Unicamp.

In 2003, Sterzi did research as an intern in the Neo-Latin Studies department at Sapienza – Università di Roma as part of his doctoral studies. From 2007 to 2010, he investigated the topic of “devastated land as it appears in the poetry of the Middle Ages and Modernity” for postdoctoral work in the Classical and Vernacular Letters department at FFLCH USP. In 2009, during an interval in the latter research, he concluded a postdoctoral study on the contribution of the philological method to the constitution of a critical history of literature with particular emphasis on the work of Italian critic and philologist Gianfranco Contini, in the European and Intercultural Studies department at Sapienza – Università di Roma.

Two volumes of Sterzi’s literary studies were published in 2008: Por que ler Dante and A prova dos nove: alguma poesia moderna e a tarefa da alegria. His published fiction includes Prosa (2001), Aleijão (2009), Cavalo sopa martelo (2011) and Maus poemas (2016). He was the organizer of Do céu do futuro: cinco ensaios sobre Augusto de Campos.

Verónica Stigger (Porto Alegre / RS, 1973) is a writer, art critic, and university professor. She holds a Ph.D. in art theory and critique from Universidade de São Paulo (USP)where her thesis examined the relationship between art and rite in modernity. Her postdoctoral work at Università di Studi La Sapienza di Roma, Universidade de São Paulo’s Museu de Arte Contemporânea (MAC-USP), and Unicamp’s Institute of Language Studies included research on Mira Schendel, Maria Martins, and Flávio de Carvalho. Stigger’s published books include Os anões [Dwarves] (2010), Delírio de Damasco [Delirium of Damascus] (2012), and Opisanie świata (2013), which was awarded the Machado de Assis and São Paulo prizes (the latter for young authors) and the Açorianos award (for long-form narrative). She is currently coordinating the Literary Creation program at Academia Internacional de Cinema and teaching art history and photography in the postgraduate program at Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP). She was the curator of two exhibitions, Maria Martins: Metamorphoses and The Womb of the World, both held at Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (2013 and 2016). Together with Eduardo Sterzi, she curated Variations of the Wild Body: Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Photographer at Sesc Ipiranga (2015), São Paulo, and Sesc Araraquara (2016). The Maria Martins exhibition received the major critique award (Grande Prêmio da Crítica) from the São Paulo Association of Art Critics as well as the Maria Eugênia Franco award for the year’s best curatorial design from the Brazilian Association of Art Critics.

Eduardo Sterzi, Veronica Stigger

Eduardo Viveiros de Castro / Instituto Socioambiental – ISA
Ivan Cardoso

Ivan Cardoso (Sammlung Ivan Cardoso | Ivan Cardoso Archive)
Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (Sammlung Eduardo Viveiros de Castro/Instituto Socioambiental – ISA | Eduardo Viveiros de Castro | Instituto Socioambiental – ISA Collection)

Erik Stein
Ausführende Produktion (Brasilien) | Executive Production (Brazil)
arte3 – Ana Helena Curti (Koordinatorin | coordinator), Laura Maringoni, Rodrigo Primo

Danksagung | Acknowledgments
Camila de Caux; Cesar Oiticica Filho; Claudio A. Tavares; Eric Macedo; Gurcius Gewdner; Gruppen der Araweté, Yanomami, Yawalapíti, Kulina; Instituto Brasileiro de Museus (Ibram); Instituto do Patrimonio Historico e Artistico Nacional (Iphan); Instituto Socioambiental (ISA ); Omar Salomão; Danilo Santos de Miranda; Juliana Braga de Mattos; Aurea Vieira Gonçalves; Nilva Luz; Heloísa Pisani; Antonio C. Martinelli Junior.

Besonderer Dank gilt der Geschäftsführerin des Sesc Ipiranga, Monica Carnieto, und ihrem Team, die die Ausstellung im Jahr 2015 ermöglicht haben. | Special thanks go to Monica Carnieto, manager at Sesc Ipiranga, and the teams that made the exhibition possible in 2015.

Präsident | President: Abram Szajman
Direktor | Director: Danilo Miranda
Stellvertretende Direktion | Assistant-Directors: Joel Padula, Ivan Giannini, Luiz Deoclécio Galina, Sergio Battistelli, Olegario Machado

AbteilungsleiterInnen | Managers: Antonio Martinelli (Sesc Ipiranga), Juliana Braga (Visual Arts), Aurea Vieira Gonçalves (International Affairs)

„Variationen des wilden Körpers“ wird präsentiert im Rahmen von „Tropical Underground. Revolutionen von Anthropologie und Kino“, kuratiert von Vinzenz Hediger und Paula Macedo Weiss. | “Variations of the Wild Body” is presented as part of “Tropical Underground. Revolutions of Anthropology and Cinema”, curated by Vinzenz Hediger and Paula Macedo Weiss.