Miguel Rio Branco

Miguel Rio Branco

Miguel Rio Branco, Blue Tango, 1984/1999 (detail)

1946, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Owner of a multidisciplinary artistic practice, Miguel Rio Branco conceives works within the medium of photography, cinema, and installation. Since the 1980s he is internationally recognized for his photographic work, in which the chromatic contrast and images highlight fundamental human questions, exploring themes such as sensuality, joy, violence, decay, and death. By softening the contours of images and using mirroring and textures, his poetics comes together as a kind of collage, a living archive of captured impressions. Recurrent in the artist’s practice, his polyptychs are an exercise on the possibilities of shaping images to build endless narratives.

Recently, Rio Branco held solo shows in France, Spain, Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland and in Brazil. From which stand out the survey exhibition Palavras cruzadas, sonhadas, rasgadas, roubadas, usadas, sangradas, held at the Instituto Moreira Salles (IMS), in São Paulo, in 2021, at the IMS Rio de Janeiro, in the following year, and, in 2023, at the Fundação Iberê in Porto Alegre. Rio Branco also held the shows De Tokyo Blues hacia Gritos Sordos, at the Centro Niemeyer in Avilés, Spain, 2024; Photographies 1968-1992, at Le Bal, Paris, France, in 2020; Nada levarei qundo morrer, at the MASP, curated by Adriano Pedrosa, Rodrigo Moura and Tomás Toledo, in 2017; and Teoria da Cor, at Pinacoteca de São Paulo, in 2014. In addition, the Instituto Inhotim, in Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, maintains since 2010, a gallery dedicated to his oeuvre.

Among his group exhibitions are noteworthy: Four Photographers, Four Places, MoMA, New York, 2019; 33th Bienal de São Paulo, in 2018; Maison Européene de la Photographie, Paris, in the same year; Troposphere, Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, Beijing, China, in 2017; Os Muitos e o Um, at the Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, in 2016; América Latina 1963-2013, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, in 2013.

Rio Branco has directed short and feature films since the 1970s, including 14 short films and eight feature films. Among these, Nada Levarei Qundo Morrer Aqueles que Mim Deve Cobrarei no Inferno won the award for best photography at the Brasília Film Festival, the special jury award, and the international critic award at the XI International Documentary Film Festival and Curtas de Lille, France, 1982.

His photos have been published in magazines including Aperture, Stern, Photo Magazine, Europeo, Paseante, and National Geographic. Miguel Rio Branco’s work is part of several institutional collections, among them: Museum of Modern Art – MoMA, NYC, USA; Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro – MAM-RJ, Brazil; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo – MAM-SP, Brazil; Museu de Arte de São Paulo – MASP, Brazil; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Museum of Photographic Arts of San Diego, USA; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, USA.