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The international media company Bertelsmann is bringing the touring exhibition “Last Folio” to Latin America for the first time. For two months starting August 18, 2016, select artistic photographs by the renowned photographer Yuri Dojc will be on display in Brazil’s biggest city São Paulo. Dojc spent years tracking down possibly the last testimonies to historic Jewish culture in Slovakia – first on his own and then, from 2005, together with the filmmaker Katya Krausova. The result are poignant still lifes of abandoned Jewish buildings and books left behind, as well as memorable portraits of survivors of the terrors of the Nazi reign. At this point the exhibition connects with many of these survivors who came to Brazil and now form a large community in the country.
Bertelsmann had already brought the pictures, unique in their authenticity and intensity, to Berlin in spring 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. At the time, the highly acclaimed exhibition attracted thousands of visitors. The exhibition’s opening at the Jewish cultural center Unibes in the metropolis of São Paulo will be attended by Thomas Rabe, Chairman & CEO of the international media, services, and education group, among others. Bertelsmann has had operations in Brazil for 40 years and is now expanding its presence in the South American country.
“Brazil is a growth market of great importance for Bertelsmann. We want to play a larger role in both its economic and social life,” declared the Bertelsmann CEO. This is expressed in increased investment as well as cultural engagement. “As a media company with a more than 180-year history, it is a priority for us to preserve valuable cultural assets and make them accessible for a broad public. This is especially true for the ‘Last Folio’ pictures, which reflect a strong Jewish identity while also conveying important historical messages,” said Rabe. Yuri Dojc and Katya Krausova’s project also illustrates the power of books to transcend generations and epochs, he added.
Bertelsmann has been active in book publishing since its founding in 1835, and today its divisions include the world’s leading trade book publishing group, Penguin Random House, which owns a stake in the Brazilian publishing company Companhia das Letras. The Group also operates services businesses (Arvato), TV production (Fremantle Media), music rights management (BMG), and a magazine publisher (Motor Press Brazil) in the country. Its focus is currently on fund and direct investments in the fast-growing education sector in Brazil. In 2012, Bertelsmann opened a Corporate Center in São Paulo to further accelerate the expansion of its businesses. The new Corporate Center is also coordinating the presentation of the “Last Folio” exhibition in Brazil.
About the “Last Folio” exhibition
Dojc’s photographs, and the film footage Krausova created, give an idea of the Jewish world that was widely destroyed in Slovakia. They show deserted synagogues and schoolhouses, religious artifacts and books upon books, which were being read, taught and prayed from right up to the time of the mass deportations to the Nazi concentration and extermination camps. Like the portraits of the contemporary witnesses of the Holocaust, they send a reminder to draw lessons from what happened, and to keep the memories alive.
The “Last Folio” exhibition has already been on view in several countries – beyond Germany, in the U.S. and U.K., Russia, Slovakia and Italy – as well as at the European Commission in Brussels and the UN in New York. Now it will be exhibited from August 18 to October 22, 2016 at the Jewish cultural center Unibes Cultural, whose spectacular architecture is reminiscent of an outsize Torah scroll.
Yuri Dojc and Katya Krausova were born in the former Czechoslovakia and left their homeland in 1968 for political reasons. In 1997, Dojc began traveling to Slovakia repeatedly to create portraits of Holocaust survivors; from 2005, Katya Krausova joined him on these returns to their former home country. Yuri Dojc now lives in Canada as an internationally recognized art photographer. His work is displayed in the collections of the National Gallery of Canada, the Library of Congress in Washington and the Slovak National Museum, among others. Katya Krausova went to London, where she co-founded the film and television production company Portobello Pictures, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with “Kolya” in 1997. “Last Folio” has become a focus of both the artists’ lives.
Exhibition “Last Folio – Preservando Memórias”
Opening ceremony: August 18, 2016, Duration: two months (until October 22, 2016)
Venue: Unibes Cultural, Rua Oscar Freire, 2500 - Sumaré, São Paulo - SP, 01426-001
Open: Daily (except Sunday) 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, free admission
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group, and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has 117,000 employees and generated revenues of €17.1 billion in the 2015 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world.