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Elliott Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Jason Oddy, his first in Amsterdam for almost a decade. In this new body of work the British photographer continues his investigations of uncommon places such as the Pentagon and ex-Soviet sanatoria, by lifting the veil of the Brasilia home of legendary modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer.

Unlike almost every other of Niemeyer’s 600-plus buildings, the house he designed for himself while helping build Brazil’s new capital looks to the past rather than the future. Its clay-tiled roof and long south-east facing verandah, make Casa Niemeyer seem like nothing so much as a typical Brazilian farmhouse. Oddy encountered it on the eve of an exhibition of his own work there. When he arrived the place had been shuttered for 20 years. Apart from a few rudimentary pre-show preparations, the architect’s onetime home appeared largely untouched.

“I was particularly interested in how Niemeyer himself might have occupied the house. As I wandered around, I started to ask myself what sort of imprint this legend of modernism might have left behind; in the built-in cupboards that lined the bedrooms and corridors; in the collection of his favourite Thonet chairs; in the asymmetric swimming pool that snakes through the garden like a broken-off fragment of his nearby futuristic city; even in the salmon-pink bath.

On returning to London I came across an article describing how a few months prior to my exhibition in Brasilia the then President of Brazil Michel Temer had moved out of the Niemeyer designed Palácio da Alvorada, the head of state’s official residence. Apparently he no longer wanted to live there because he believed the Alvorada was haunted. I began thinking about ghosts, and in particular the ghosts – however improbable – of modernism. I wondered if they too might have been lurking somewhere in Casa Niemeyer. And whether the photographs I’d taken there might provide some sort of clue as to their existence.”

– Jason Oddy

“By transforming modernism’s timeworn concrete trope into something more diaphanous, might it be possible to see past the apparent world to the ghosts of recent history? Not to then flee from them as Temer did, but rather to acknowledge them, and attempt to understand whatever it is – warning, admonition or promise – they might be trying to impart.”

– Jason Oddy

Alongside the work from Casa Niemeyer, Elliott Gallery will show Spectre, a single large-scale photograph made at Niemeyer’s French Communist Party Headquarters in Paris, where Oddy also showed his series on Niemeyer’s Algerian period. Like a delirious ‘mise en abyme’, the exhibition Imagem Secundária appears as the final reflection in a vertiginous hall of mirrors.

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