Rio de Janeiro-born artist Marcos Chaves creates work which defies easy categorisation: since the 1980s, he has moved between installation, photography, video, sound and text, exploring the idea of place with irony and humour – from a series of photographs of potholes on Rio’s streets, to a famously subversive play on the endlessly reprinted tourist postcards of Sugarloaf mountain. Long the subject of his work, Marcos continues to call Brazil’s second city home, which is where you’ll find him come summer, never far from Ipanema, his favourite beach in the world.

Travel has mostly been on pause for the past six months – but if you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?

I would love to be in one of those islands in the Pacific – just for a couple of days – where they didn’t have contact with Covid-19, such as Vanuatu, Samoa or Tonga. Besides their beauty, I would be relaxing, experiencing a life without these worries we are living…

How have you been fulfilling your wanderlust while in lockdown?

I’m very conscious that we are living in a time of no travelling [which makes it] a great moment to rethink the crazy amounts of trips we were used to. The perfect time to calm down, live quietly and consume locally. During the lockdown I started ‘travelling’ in my own house with the help of my camera… window views, lights and shadows. A huge reduced field. But besides all of this I was working on my next book and show at Rio de Janeiro’s Museum of Modern Art next year.

What have you missed about travelling?

Meeting friends and new people, visiting museums and art shows – and of course missing that exciting happiness of landing in a place you don’t know.

Where is your favourite place to spend the summer?

I love to spend every December at home in Rio. It’s not yet too hot and the vibration of summer is starting to fill the air.

“During the lockdown I started ‘travelling’ in my own house with the help of my camera… window views, lights and shadows. A huge reduced field.”

What is the hotel you keep returning to, and what makes it special?

Welcome Hotel in Villefranche-sur-Mer – a kind of old-fashioned French hotel, right at the beginning of the beach and across from Chapelle de Saint-Pierre des Pecheurs, which was painted by Jean Cocteau.

Describe the best meal you’ve had on holiday...

A salad made of 100 different herbs and 25 flowers at Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli in Gargnano, by Lake Garda – simply delicious, and so beautiful.

Was there ever a time when the journey was actually better than the destination?

Yes! Driving from Montenegro to Sarajevo – stopping at Mostar for lunch, passing through wonderful dramatic forests, finding great modern socialist monuments out of the blue in the middle of nowhere. Then, finally getting to Sarajevo – which was not so special!

What’s your favourite beach in the world?

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro.

What are the three items you always pack in your suitcase, regardless of where you’re traveling to?

Bathing suit, goggles and Havaianas flip flops.

What’s your sunscreen recommendation?

Always Lancaster.

Do you have a routine to beat jet lag? Tell us your secret...

Melatonin. And stay up until the normal bedtime of the place – even if you are tired, and could have slept before.

What’s your holiday activity level? Flop down and relax or do you need constant action?

I always walk a lot [on vacation] – you can get to know [a place] better by walking around.

Where is next on your bucket list?

If the situation gets controlled, I have plans to spend three months in Paris by the end of the next year. I’ve been studying French everyday during the last six months of isolation.

Marcos' List

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is a city to dream of as days get shorter and the temperature drops


A gallery of photographs by the world’s best image-makers for you to send on as digital postcards to your loved ones.

Rainer Andreesen

Artist Rainer Andreesen tells us why he’s living his bucket list every day

Paul Newman

Paul Newman was Hollywood’s original multi-hyphenate – and possibly one of the most stylish men who ever lived