14. April – 19. May 2016

Rio Naïf et les Jeux Olympiques

The exhibitions "Rio naïf et les Jeux Olympiques" and "Bâle brut et les Jeux Olympiques" will take place on the occasion of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The presented works show the wonderfully fascinating city of Rio de Janeiro with its world famous landmarks Christ the Redeemer and the Sugar Loaf as well as the immense wealth of flora and fauna in Brazil and different sports.

The works of mostly self-taught artists are markedly simple, carefree and imaginative and often show the personal wishes of the artists.

Their genuine creations give an imaginative impulse in the context of contemporary art.

Daniel Faust


The organization of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2016 makes the Brazilians and especially the residents of Rio de Janeiro very proud. The Cariocas are responsible both for the reception of the athletes and for the visitors coming from more than 200 countries for this athletic meeting.

The naïve art with its colors, its simplicity and liveliness shows the face of Rio de Janeiro and at the same time impressively presents the Brazilian culture including the perspective of sports.

It is a great pleasure for me to celebrate the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio with this exhibition cooperation.

The Brazilian Consulate General in Geneva, the International Museum of Naïve Brazilian Art (MIAN), the gallery Espace L and the Brasilea Foundation are supported by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture Itamaraty and jointly present vibrant and representative works of Brazilian naïve art on the subject of sports and Rio in Geneva and Basel.

We hope that the works of the Brazilian naïve artists convey the vibrations of the competitions to every visitor and that they are framed by the beauty of the landscapes of the marvelous city.

Ambassador Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo
Brazilian Consul General in Geneve


The origins of naïve art date back to the times in which the first humans documented their environment in caves.

The naïve painter is usually self-taught, independent and without being bound to any school or style.

He or she develops an own visual language, the main features of which are ingenuity and freedom.

The naïve painter expresses him or herself in an own way and has own ideas that arise from inside.

You cannot learn to be naïve, you must be born this way.

Naïve painters paint their surroundings, festivals, folklore, religious traditions and remind us to save the planet and the ecosystem. Furthermore, they remind us of peace, of love, of dreams and fantasy. Their paintings are unbiased and mainly produced by feelings.

According to Lucien Finkelstein, the founder of Mian, naïve painters are "anarchist poets with paintbrushes".

The topics of the selected works for this exhibition include both a happy and colorful panorama of the city of Rio de Janeiro, where the Olympic Games will take place in 2016, as well as its cultural attractions, beaches, Corcovado, Sugar Loaf, Maracanã and several Olympic and Paralympic sports.

Jacqueline Finkelstein, curator