1947, Salvador, BA, Brazil – 2009, Salvador, BA, Brazil.
Photographer, sculptor and draughtsman, Mario Cravo Neto received his first orientations in the field of art from his father, the artist Mario Cravo Júnior. From the beginning of his career, he was mainly interested in photography and sculpture. The artist also dedicated himself to installations, and the systematic documentation of these works brought him an understanding of cinematographic language. In the following years, his work consisted of photographic investigations in the studio with the proposal of large visual installations, exploring the character and sculptural dimension of that language. The themes focused primarily on the religious practices (Catholicism and candomblé) of the city of Salvador. These images reveal a great dramatic density and fictional character, fitting to an accurate investigation of the photographic language.
Cravo Neto was one of the first Brazilian contemporary photographers to obtain wide international recognition from the 1970s onward, having held numerous group and solo exhibitions in several countries. Among them are: the XI, XII, XIII, XIV and XVII Bienais de São Paulo, Brazil; Geográfias (in)Visibles, Arte Contemporáneo Latinoamericano en la Colecion Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Centro Cultural Eduardo León Jimenes, Santiago, Dominican Republic (2008); Mapas Abiertos, Fotografia LatinoAmericana 1991-2002, Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona, Spain (2008); O Tigre do Dahomey – A Serpente de Whydah, Museu Afro-Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil (2005); Ars Erotica: Sexo e Erotismo na Arte Brasileira, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil (2000); Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (1998); Kunstverein Steyr, Stein, Austria (1995), among others.
Mario Cravo Neto published several books, among them: Bahia (1980); Cravo (1983); A Cidade da Bahia (1984); Os Estranhos Filhos da Casa (1985); Ex-Voto (1986); Mario Cravo Neto (1987); Angola (1991); O Tigre do Dahomey – A Serpente de Whydah (2004); and Flecha em Repouso (2008). The artist received the Prêmio Nacional de Fotografia da Funarte in 1996, the Prize Waterhouse in the Panorama da Arte Brasileira of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo in 1997 and the award for photographer of the year from Associação Paulista dos Críticos de Arte in 1980, 1995 and 2005.
His work is featured in the collections of important national and international institutions, such as: Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA; The Museum of Fine Arts/The Allan Chasanoff Photographic Collection, Houston, USA; Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Brazil; Museu de Arte Contemporânea de São Paulo, Brazil; Patricia Phelps de Cisneros Collection, Caracas, Venezuela; Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics, Center of Photography, Tokyo, Japan; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain; Museu de Arte Moderna da Bahia, Salvador, Brazil, among others.