From February 27, 2016, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo presents the Natureza Franciscana (Franciscan Nature) exhibition offering a modern notion of collaborative relationships between humans and nature. Curated by Felipe Chaimovich, the show is organizing according to the stanzas of Canticle of Creatures, a chant composed by Francis of Assisi, probably between 1220 and 1226, officially recognized as the text that first presented issues related to ecology.
In order to contemplate the line of art and ecology, the curator selected artists who utilize elements of nature in their productions, gathering works from the Museum’s collection and some loans. Exhibited on various supports such as photography, drawing, print, video, artist’s book, installation, sound work, object, sculpture, and embroidery, the nearly 30 works gathered here are related to elements of nature mentioned in the Canticle. “Both the artists and their works show the elements described in the chant such as sun, stars, air, water, fire, earth, sickness and trials, and, ultimately, death, presenting a relationship of collaboration with nature,” explains Chaimovich, who has been studying Francis’s work for the past 15 years.
This curator has previously presented other shows about art and ecology, including some at this Museum such as Ecológica (Ecological) and Festival de Jardins do MAM no Ibirapuera (Gardens Festival of MAM at Ibirapuera Park) in collaboration with Chantal Colleu-Dumond and the International Garden Festival – Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire in 2010. MAM also hosted the shows Morada Ecológica (Ecological Home) and Razão e Ambiente (Reason and Environment) curated by Dominique Gauzin-Muller and Lauro Cavalcanti, respectively, both in 2011.
The Canticle of Creatures was written in the language from Umbria, and the lyrics reaffirm Francis of Assisi’s ideas, who often referred to the sun and the moon as brother and sister. The final part of the canticle was probably written in late 1224, while its author was suffering with illness.
About the Exhibition
Divided by the elements mentioned in the Canticle of Creatures song by Francis of Assisi, the show starts with the sun represented by color photo Lâmpada (Light Bulb, 2002) by Lucia Koch; side by side with black and white photos The celebration of light (1991) by Marcelo Zocchio; and the twelve books in the series I got up (1968-1979) by On Kawara from Japan.
The water element is theme of the photos A line in the arctic #1 and A line in the arctic #8 (2012) by Marcelo Moscheta from São Paulo and by works related to the Coletas (Gather) project by multimedia artist Brígida Baltar, including images from the series A coleta da neblina (Gathering Fog, 1998-2005), five Indian ink on paper drawings (2004), the glass sculpture A coleta do Orvalho (Gathering Dew2001), and the video Coletas (1998-2005).
As counterpoint, fire is symbolized by the video Homenagem a Turner (Homage to Turner, 2002) by Thiago Rocha Pitta, and by traces of smoke on paper created by sculptor and drawer Shirley Paes Leme. The air element is represented by the Venus Bleue sculpture by Yves Klein from France. Representing earth, 30 cardboard boxes filled with plastic-packaged leaves and branches, cardboard and color photos are exhibited as an installation created in 1975 by Sérgio Porto, as well as an artisanal paper relievo (1981) by Frans Krajcberg.
Sickness and trials are presented on the Dis-placement (1996-7) installation by Paulo Lima Buenoz: In a room with furniture, medicine bottles, roses, tarpaulins, chalk, and paint, the artist shows paths followed by him to reach and take all medicines to battle Aids’s effects before the anti-HIV medicine combinations emerged. Artist Nazareth Pacheco exhibits a series of black and white photos from 1993 showing the congenital formation of cleft palates, teeth, X-rays, and gypsum objects.
Finally, death is represented by two works by José Leonilson: one is made of black ink and water on paper entitled Com o anjo da guarda (With the Guardian Angel, 1991) and by the last embroidery fabric created by this artist from Ceará state before his death in 1993. Pervading the exhibition, artist Chiara Banfi’s soundtrack reaches all exhibition spaces and encompasses all the elements represented.
Plan Your Visit:
Curator: Felipe Chaimovich
Lacation: Grande Sala (Great Room)
Opening: February 27 (Saturday) at 11 am
Visitation: Until June 5
Tickets: R$ 6.00 – free on Sundays
Location: Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo
Address: Parque Ibirapuera (av. Pedro Álvares Cabral, s/nº – Portão 3)
Tuesdays to Sundays, from 10 am to 5:30 pm (the museum closes at 6 pm)
Phone # +55 (11) 5085-1300
Parking available (Zona Azul parking permit: R$ 5 for 2h)