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2007, English/Portuguese
21×14 cm, 256 pages, 8 b/w ill., softcover
ISBN 978-1-933128-37-5
Out of print

Working at Copan collects interviews with workers and employees at Edifício Copan, a landmark modernist architecture in the center of São Paulo. Designed by Oscar Niemeyer and completed in 1966, it became the largest residential building in Latin America. As a historical building and symbol of “vertical utopia,” it embodies an era of radical political and economic changes within Brazilian society. In his new book project, Berlin-based artist Peter Friedl deals with the work left over from the modern era. The questions and answers are concerned with the logic of the labor performed, the work process, the relationship of work and leisure, biographical details, memories, and plans for the future.


Co-published by Kunsthalle Basel and Extra City, Antwerpen, in collaboration with Exo, São Paulo. The book is followed by an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Basel from January 18 – March 30, 2008, and at Extra City, Antwerpen from April 10 – June 8, 2008.


Maybe someday the Niemeyer curves can be interpreted as a play with the contradictions of Brazilian society; more a playful offer, than an authority deciding the game’s outcome. In any case, the complexity of urban social reality in a city like São Paulo offers enough material to reinterpret the euphoric program of its modernistic showcase architecture. The urban jungle has all kinds of hidden ruins in store.

— Peter Friedl