At Inhotim these three untitled sculptures by Edgard de Souza are presented together for the first time, grouped by the artist on a single elliptical concrete base. Part of a series in cast bronze that de Souza has been working on over the last decade; they represent a nude masculine figure based on the artist’s own body. They could be considered typical self-portraits, were it not for the deliberate and significant absence of the main identifying element of a portrait: the face. At first glance it may seem that the sculptures, which are articulated in an elegant linear arrangement, can be read in terms of a continuous movement, but more careful examination reveals a fragmented reading without any obvious cause-and-effect relationship among the poses. The bodies’ impossible and abstract positions suggest energy and introspection, as well as fragmentation and fusion. Since the late1 980s, de Souza has been creating a relatively limited group of refined works, with an artisanal quality and slower rhythm of production that distinguishes them from most large-scale contemporary practices. Characterized by smooth surfaces and precise forms, his bronze sculptures are cast in molds made in a careful process that begins with the artist himself carving a mold in a monolithic block of plaster, which imparts a precious and seductive aspect to each piece. De Souza’s production always involves associations with art history and issues related to corporality and self-representation. To a certain extent, these works revisit the tradition, prevalent in Europe from the 17th through the 19th centuries, of bronze portrait sculptures, which were often exhibited in gardens and other public spaces.


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