Sandra Cattaneo Adorno: Ten Years

Initiating her photographic career at 60 in 2013, Sandra Cattaneo Adorno has charted a vivid course through the photographic landscape, capturing ephemeral moments that linger at the boundary of reality and dreamlike abstraction. Echoing the late career renaissance of Dora Maar, who revitalized her approach to photography in her 70s, Cattaneo Adorno has continuously sought fresh experimental methods in both print and presentation.
April 20 marks the unveiling of “Ten Years” at the 7th Personal Structures: Beyond Boundaries, concurrently held with the 60th Venice Biennale. This edition, organized by the European Cultural Centre, spotlights the narratives of individuals navigating between the Global South and Global North, focusing on émigrés, exiles, and refugees.
Originating from Brazil, Cattaneo Adorno’s global travels deeply inform her creative and personal perspectives, weaving a sense of community through artistic creation. Co-curated with Andrea Verganti, “Ten Years” is a retrospective that seamlessly integrates themes from her earlier series into a modernist tour-de-force.
At the exhibition’s outset, a six-minute video installation sets the tone, revealing a cinematic exploration of imagery where photos fluidly merge, narrating stories of displacement and connection. Through her lens, locales such as Mauritius, Egypt, Brazil, and others transform into surreal reflections on the foreign and the familiar.
Cattaneo Adorno employs an intuitive, evocative approach to photography, particularly evident in her work “The Other Half of the Sky,” where she traverses the globe capturing diverse facets of womanhood. Her recent return to the iconic Ipanema beach resulted in the creation of “Águas de Ouro” (Waters of Gold), using gold metallic inks to conjure the vital elements of nature.
Her series “Scarti di Tempo” (Scraps of Time) blends abstraction with realism, drawing on the rich tapestry of Brazilian modernism much like Tarsila do Amaral. This work merges intricate local symbolism with highly stylized forms to evoke a collective belonging.

Central to the exhibition is her latest monograph, “Ten Years” (European Cultural Center/Radius Books, April 16, 2024), a visually stunning black and gold collection that reflects a decade of artistic evolution. Imagined as an accordion-style book, it unfolds like a scroll, allowing layered, fragmented narratives to emerge, reminiscent of Klimt’s golden symbolism and the vibrant colors of Carnival.

In “Ten Years,” Cattaneo Adorno delves deeper into the unseen layers of the world, using inverted images to explore the mysterious realms of negative space, inspired by the pioneering photogenic drawing technique of William Henry Fox Talbot.
“Ten Years” by Sandra Cattaneo Adorno is on display from April 20 through November 24, 2024, at Palazzo Bembo, Venice. The exhibit and its publications are produced by the European Cultural Center and Radius Books, showcasing a decade of groundbreaking photography. Sandra Cattaneo Adorno, recognized by numerous prestigious awards, continues to challenge and captivate with her visionary work.

A portrait of Sandra Cattaneo Adorno

About the Author

Sandra Cattaneo Adorno (b. 1953, Rio de Janeiro) took up photography in 2013 at the age of 60 and has since gained extensive recognition for her work.
The author of The Other Half of the Sky, Águas de Ouro, and Scarti di Tempo (Radius Books 2020, and 2022). Her latest book, Ten Years, also by Radius Books, will appear in 2024. Cattaneo Adorno is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2003 American Photography Award, 2021 LensCulture Street Photography Juror’s Pick, and the 2019 Portrait of Humanity Award in collaboration with Magnum Photos.
In 2022 Cattaneo Adorno launched her solo exhibition during the 59th Venice Biennale, organized by the European Cultural Centre. She has also exhibited in Women Street Photographers exhibitions in Kuala Lumpur and New York; Galleria del Cembalo, Rome; LensCulture, New York; Photoville, Brooklyn; Sony Awards Exhibition, London. Her work has been published by The Washington Post, The New York Times, National Geographic, and The Guardian, as well as Women Street Photographers (Prestel 2021) and Portrait of Humanity (Hoxton Mini Press, 2019). Cattaneo Adorno is represented by Robert Mann Gallery in New York.

Sandra Cattaneo Adorno: Ten Years
April 20 – November 24, 2024
Palazzo Bembo – Venice – Italy

Hardcover accordion-fold with booklet: 176 pages / 93 images
Publisher: Radius Books (2024)
Language: English
Size: 10 x 13.25 inches
ISBN-13: 979-8890180780

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