The dialogue between Alexander Calder and Brazilian artists featured at Itaú Cultural
In Calder e a Arte Brasileira (Calder and Brazilian Art), the institute casts light on the influence in Brazil of the work of the North American artist—a pioneer of the kinetic art—and reveals the importance of his role in establishing neo-concretism in the country.
On 31 August, the energy and dynamism of the work of Alexander Calder (1898-1976) will fill three floors of Itaú Cultural’s exhibition space. Comprising nearly sixty works of art, half of which are by Calder, Calder and Brazilian Art explores the American artist’s impact on fourteen Brazilian artists, revealing the ways in which he informed the development of neo-concretism in this country. Curated by Luiz Camillo Osorio, in partnership with Expomus and the Calder Foundation, led by the artist's grandson Alexander S. C. Rower and based in New York, the exhibition will be on view to the public from 1 September to 23 October.
The exhibition presents approximately 30 works by the American artist, including hanging and standing mobiles, stabiles, maquettes for monumental sculptures, oil paintings, and works on paper, juxtaposed in dialogue with kinetic Brazilian works from the 1940s and 1950s that went on to influence the generations that followed. The Brazilian artists featured in the exhibition include: Abraham Palatnik, Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica – whose work was featured at Itaú Cultural in 2009, 2010 and 2012 -, Willys de Castro, Judith Lauand, Lygia Pape, Waltercio Caldas, Manuel Antonio, and Luiz Sacilotto, as well as younger generations of artists such as Ernesto Neto, Franklin Cassaro, Carlos Bevilacqua, Cao Guimarães, and Rivane Neuenschwander.
Calder first traveled to Brazil in 1948 on the occasion of solo exhibitions in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. He went on to participate in the first and second Bienals de São Paulo (in 1951 and 1953), directly influencing the poetic imagery in the country. He established friendships with renowned Brazilian artists and architects, and the art critic Mario Pedrosa, who was fundamental in organizing Calder’s 1959 retrospective at the Modern Art Museum of Rio de Janeiro, celebrated the American artist. Rower notes, “My grandfather's time in Brazil had a lasting impact on him, both emotionally and intellectually. He was fascinated by the boundless energy of the country’s culture—he especially loved samba—and his mobiles, in turn, captivated Brazilian artists and intelligentsia in ways that continue to resonate today. The show at Itaú presents an exciting dialogue—one befitting Calder’s affinity with the Brazilian spirit.”
According Camillo Osorio, the poetics of Calder, whose constructive rigor belies lyrical tonality, is an important reference for Brazilian artists although not yet widely asserted. Calder’s works have appeared in Brazilian collections and exhibitions since the 1940s, and his influence stands at the forefront of the country’s contemporary aesthetics. The movement that manifests Calder's mobiles, for example, is also present in Lygia Clark’s series of Bichos, the spatial reliefs of Oiticica, and in the kinechromatics of Palatnik. "Calder’s work became an indelible part of the Brazilian constructive training, mixing the spirited with the geometric, and it deserves better historical evaluation," says the curator. “It is this relationship that we intend to reveal in this exhibition.”
Calder e a Arte Brasileira, according to Luiz Camillo Osorio, aims to reveal Calder’s presence and dissemination in the Brazilian artistic imagination, in addition to featuring important works throughout the North American artist’s journey. “We show works by some of our artist who were, directly or indirectly, affected by him,” says the curator.
The generational relationship with the concrete and neo-concrete tradition, the common desire for concentration and expansion of the abstract form – both in and out of the pictorial plane – are found on floor -2.
Among the works by Calder are Untitled, a gouache on paper from 1946, and Composition (also 1946), which was donated by the artist to MASP (São Paulo Museum of Art) in 1948. They are featured in the same space as Abraham Palatnik’s Cinechromatic Devices, 1969/86, Kinetic Object, 1986, and another work of the same name, dated 1990/1991. Lygia Clark, among other Brazilians, is featured on this floor with Composition, a work on paper from 1952. By Hélio Oiticica are his Metaschemes, one dated 1957, another from 1958. Just to name a few more, this floor features Ascension (1959), by Willys de Castro, and Concreto 28, a work by Judith Lauand, dated 1956.
On floor -1, the curatorial line suggests the subliminal unfolding of Calder’s influence on Brazilian contemporary art. “The point that is worth emphasizing here is the body’s presence in activating the form, the incorporation of movement and geometry traversed by a specific social and cultural context, where past and future are intertwined,” muses the curator. The floor features Calder’s model for Brasília (circa 1959), and Yellow Plane from 1946. By Brazilian artists, there are from Critters by Lygia Clark (1920-1988), a Bilateral and parangolé by Hélio Oiticica (1937-1980), to the sculptures by Waltercio Caldas, de 1997 e 2002, NaveMeditaFeNuJardim, 2015, by Ernesto Neto and Air Catamaran, 1997, by Carlos Bevilacqua.
Finally, on the first floor, the mobiles appear as drawings in space that immaterialize themselves and resist gravity. To mention a few of Calder’s works, the space features Red, White, Black and Brass, 1934, that has never been exhibited in Brazil before; Scarlet Digitals, 1945 – an extremely important work that has not been exhibited for over 60 years, has never been in Brazil, and has always been in artist’s family – Bosquet is the Best Best, 1946; and Thirty-Two Discs, 1951, featured at the São Paulo Biannual in 1953-1954. They are in dialogue with productions such as The closest air, 1991, by Waltercio Caldas, Cassarinhos in the cage, 2010, by Franklin Cassaro, or Breath, 2000, by Cao Guimarães and Rivane Neuenschwander.
To learn more
Itaú Cultural prepared a special pamphlet for the exhibition, seeking to present a deeper historical contextualization as regards to the artist’s influence in the Brazilians’ creations. The institute further expands its activities to the virtual environment: further information on Alexander Calder is possible to be researched both in Enciclopédia Itaú Cultural and at website itaucultural.org.br.
Calder e a Arte Brasileira
Opening: August 31 (Wednesday), at 8 PM
Visitation: September 1 to October 23
From Tuesdays to Fridays, from 9 AM to 8 PM
Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, from 11 AM to 8 PM
Floors 1, -1 and -2
Suitable for all ages
Entrance on Rua Leôncio de Carvalho, 108
R$ 10 for a 12-hour period. If the visitor requests the ticket to be stamped at the reception of Itaú Cultural: 3 hours: R$ 7; 4 hours: R$ 9; 5 to 12 hours: R$ 15.
With valet and insurance, free for bicycles.
Access for the disabled
At Itaú Cultural
Avenida Paulista, 149, Brigadeiro Subway Station
Phones: +55 11 2168-1776/1777
2016 - developed by CONTEÚDO COMUNICAÇÃO