“The Garden of Power”

Centro Cultural Banco Do Brasil

If there is a perfect city for staging a dialogue between modernist universalism and the postmodernist celebration of difference, Brasília must be it. Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer’s grand project has been constantly disrupted throughout the past fifty years by the city’s growing population and chaotic development as well as by the original buildings’ gradual “postmodern” disintegration. “Jardim do Poder” (The Garden of Power), curated by Felipe Chaimovich, linked Costa’s urban plan to the pattern of the gardens at Versailles, a complex created to reinforce and celebrate the centralized power of the French monarchy. Brasília was, in a sense, an ambitious reprise of this same idea but in a democratic, “provincial,” and postcolonial form.

But the Brazilian capital instead became a monument to the failure of modern utopian ideals, and this exhibition thus offered a critique of Costa and

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