This exhibition presents a selection of works acquired by the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo over the last five years. The acquisitions have been made through private donations, many of which were mediated by the Contemporary Nucleus, a category of members of the museum. Thus, we begin 2019 by thanking MAM’s collaborators, in bringing to the audience some of the fruits of this collaboration.
The works gathered together here point to the lines of force of MAM’s collection. The museum’s historical relationship with geometric abstraction in Brazil is represented by the drawing by Lothar Charoux, from 1958, the oldest work in the show. The later politicization of geometric formality in the 1960s is evidenced in Julio Plaza’s artist book project since the audience is invited to abandon the position of the passive viewer to freely turn the colored pages. On the other hand, the more lyrical use of geometry persists until the 1980s, as witnessed by Jacques Douchez’s tapestry.
In addition to reflecting on its own history, the museum must also consider the country’s myths. Our capital, Brasília, is the most monumental work of abstract geometric design ever applied to architecture and urbanism, appearing like the backdrop of Oscar Niemeyer’s wake, in the photo by Mauro Restiffe: the utopia of the mythical enterprise that would transform Brazil and the finiteness of Brasília meet in a single moment. Another invention of the Brazilian imaginary appears in the words of Gilberto Freyre, the creator of the myth of Brazilian racial democracy: Jonathas de Andrade geometrically organizes words of Freyre between stereotyped photos representing the idleness of the black worker. But the positive meeting between abstract geometry and the symbolic materiality of Afro-Brazilian mythology is affirmed in the work of Mestre Didi.
The relationship between geometry and power continues through the nucleus of the visual poets of the 1970s: Almandrade and Ridyas. In a world increasingly connected by the mass media industry, both seek intervals of freedom among lines and columns.
Landscape is also an essential aspect of the collection. Being located in the Ibirapuera Park, MAM enjoys a privileged relationship with modern landscaping. In the landscapes brought together here, the characteristic rationality of geometry manifests both in forms which repeat themselves, like the photos of Marcelo Moscheta, through the careful selection of painting materials, as in the painting by Rodrigo Andrade, or in the composition of quadrilaterals that reinforce each other, as in the sky of Sandra Cinto.
On the other hand, the collection includes works that oppose rationality. avaf’s painting uses elements of geometry and the sobriety of red and black to achieve an anarchic construction. Laura Lima’s panel records the destruction of the geometric mesh since it is randomly shredded and coarsely bound to its own structure. The composition of images by João Castilho uses predominantly blue rectangles to create a fragmented narrative. Montez Magno’s city uses the randomness of dice to challenge urban planning. The photo by Erika Verzutti and Luiz Roque creates a disconcerting play of full and empty spaces, where shadows take the place of people, and a huge jackfruit occupies the gap that separates them. The O jardim [The Garden] series by Pedro David shows an arid world where the remains of burnings and useless constructions resist the efforts of human domination.
Artistic engagement with the political history of Brazil is represented, in turn, by the painting Luta [Struggle] by José Aguilar, produced in 1967, and by the series of photos by the group 3NÓS3 [3US3] entitled Ensacamento [Bagging], from 1979, which register the actions of covering public statues with bags, simulating torture.
Exhibition New Acquisitions at MAM
Date: from 01/12 to 04/14/2019
Local: Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo
Address: Parque Ibirapuera (av. Pedro Álvares Cabral, s/nº – Portão 3)
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 to 17:30 (doors close at 18:00)
Phone: (11) 5085-1300
Tickets: Free entry
For more information, please click here.