Eight decades of informal abstraction Jan 17th - Apr 22th, 2018

Opening on January 16th (from 20.00, with free entry for guests and the general public) and running until April 22nd 2018, the exhibition Mira Schendel: Sinais/Signals, is to be hosted by MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (Musuem of Modern Art of São Paulo) in the Paulo Figueiredo room, with the presentation of over 90 works by the Swiss artist Mira Schendel (1919 – 1988) who lived in Brazil in 1949. Curated by Paulo Venancio Filho, Sinais/Signals highlight’s Schendel’s principal characteristic, namely the process of “reducing things to their minimum” in different media, which include paper and rice paper (the “Monotypes”), but also the so-called “Toquinhos” (or “stubs”), small acrylic cubes or pieces of silk paper, onto which her characteristic signs and letters are applied. The materials used in the drawings and paintings include India ink, Ecoline, Letraset, typescript and oil paint. The show is sponsored by Bradesco.


In addition to the many works from the MAM’s collection donated by the collector and gallery owner, Paulo Figueiredo (1947–2006) in 1997, Mira Schendel: Sinais/Signals brings together over 50 works from private collections, which Mira produced, at a prolific rate, mainly from the 1960s to the 1980s.


The exhibition is not a retrospective and neither does it seek to offer an overview of the artist’s work. The curator’s aim was rather to bring together a variety of works where the familiar elements of Mira’s graphic work predominate, such as the letters, scribbles, lines, numbers, phrases and signs. Through this expressive collection, Paulo Venancio observes that “it is possible to analyze the range of the artist’s process, its intensity, its manifestation which is simultaneously casual, hermetic, simple, sophisticated, unique and repetitive. In assembling this collection of works which she produced over decades, my aim was to follow, work by work, the restless multiplicity of these signs, and thus to seek to do justice to the totality of the poetic spirit which they manifest.”


Paulo Venancio Filho is a curator, art critic, full professor at the Arts Faculty of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and a researcher at CNPq (Brazilian Council of Scientific and Technological Development). He has published texts on numerous Brazilian artists, including Antonio Manuel, Hélio Oiticica, Cildo Meireles, Lygia Pape, Waltércio Caldas, Mira Schendel, Franz Weissmann, Iole de Freitas, Carlos Zilio, Anna Maria Maiolino and Nuno Ramos.

He was the curator of the exhibitions O corpo da escultura: a obra de Iole de Freitas 1972-1997 (MAM-SP, 1997/Paço Imperial, 1997), Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis (Tate Modern, London, 2001), Iberê Camargo: Diante da Pintura (Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo,2003), Soto: A construção da imaterialidade (CCBB, Rio de Janeiro,2005/Instituto Tomie Othake, 2006/MON, Curitiba, 2006), Anna Maria Maiolino: Entre Muitos (Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, 2005/Miami Art Central, 2006), Fatos/Antonio Manuel (CCBB, São Paulo, 2007), Time and Place: Rio de Janeiro 1956-1964 (Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 2008), Nova Arte Nova (CCBB, Rio de Janeiro, 2008), Hot Spots (Kunsthaus Zürich, 2009), Cruzamentos (Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, 2014), Possibilities of the Object: Experiments in Brazilian Modern and Contemporary Art (The Fruitmarket Gallery, Glasgow, 2015) and Piero Manzoni (MAM-SP, 2015).


O Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo – The Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo

MAM is a not-for-profit, public interest, non-governmental organization, founded in 1948. Its collection comprises over 5 thousand works by the most distinguished names in modern and contemporary art, mainly Brazilian. Both its collection and exhibitions privilege experimentalism and support plurality in global artistic production and the diversity of interests of contemporary societies.

The principal exhibitions are held in two rooms, in accordance with an annual calendar divided into four seasons. Other shows are staged regularly in the spaces of the library and the connecting corridor where the Projeto Parede (Wall Project) installations are organized.

Every two years, MAM stages the Panorama da Arte Brasileira (Panorama of Brazilian Art), an exhibition resulting from the mapping of contemporary work throughout the different regions of Brazil. The growth of interest in Brazilian art around the world has consolidated the Panorama as a major show on the international artistic circuit.

The museum also maintains a broad range of activities that include courses, seminars, lectures, performances, musical shows, video sessions and artistic production. The content of the exhibitions and activities is accessible to the public, through audio-guides, video-guides and translation into Brazilian sign-language.