Figures, almost figures

20 Years of the Curatorship Study Group

By MAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

Cais 2 (A escada de Jacó) (1998/1999) by Carlos UchôaMAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo


The return to painting that took place in the early 19805 was particularly noticeable in two trands that emerged at that time: the italian transvanguard, set off by critic Achille Bonito Oliva, and the German neo-expressionism. The Bienal Internacional de São Paulo held in 1983, 1985 and 1987, brought Brazil various artists that integrate this last European generation of painters, Which included Georg Baselitz, Markus LUpertz, Francesco Clemente, Sandra Chia and Anselm Kiefer, among others, in doing so encouraged young Brazilian artists to adopt painting as their chief means of expression. These young artists included group Casa 7 (constituted by Nuno Ramos, Fábio Miguez, Paulo Monteiro, Carlito Carvalhosa, and Rodrigo Andrade), Leda Catunda, Paulo Pasta, Daniel Senise, Beatriz Milhaze and many other artists.
The 19805 were in turn, a highly fruitful decade in terms of revealing new artistic talents, principally in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where young artists displayed, at historical exhibitions such as A Pintura como meio [Panting as medium] (1983) and Casa 7 (1985), held at the Universidade de São Paulo's Museu de Arte Contemporânea (MAC-USP) and Como vai você, geração 80.7 [How are you Generation 80s?] (1984), held at Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro.

Lamentação (1985/1986) by Nuno RamosMAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

Today several artists who displayed at these events are also displaying in the international art circuit. The comeback of painting in the early 1980s was not prompted by a lack of painters in the preceding decades. Actually, the painting executed in Brazil in the 19705 was mostly engaged art, i. e., a means to communicate political ideologies during the years of Brazilian military dictatorship. Therefore, the figurative paintings produced in the country before the 19805 were by and large representations of facts or ideas. The same cannot be said of the figurative painting rendered by artists of subsequente generations. The figures that painters have adopted in the last couple of decades have had the task to solve problems inherent to painting such as gesture, color and composition.

Sem título (1995/1996) by Paulo WhitakerMAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

Although at times they are nearly unrecognizable, these shapes are not quite abstract. They form & new vocabulary of figures that are not necessarily explicit renditions of reality, With the objective of constructing their work, following the example of concrete and neo-concrete artists who depicted geometric shapes in the 19505 and 19605. ln other words, figures created in the 19805 and 19905 are informed by a constructive heritage, hence their detachment from representation taken from reality, political engagement, or even ideological thought unconnected with paint work and the act of painting.

Figuras, quase figuras [Figures, almost figures] brings together works by Brazilian artists who took up art work in the 19805 and Whose production is found in this return to painting time-all artists who in one way or another insert "non-figure" figures in the composition of their paintings.

Devagar com a louça (1984/1985) by Daniel SeniseMAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

At the exhibition, works produced in the 1980s and shown in anthological exhibitions held during that decade are hung on partitions arranged in the central part of the gallery. This display includes works by Nuno Ramos, Daniel Senise, Paulo Monteiro, Rodrigo Andrade, Paulo Pasta, and Dudi Maia Rosa (the latter is a member of the previous generation who took on proposals put fon/vard at that time).
ln the 19905, the pictorial creation initiated in previous years continued with the appearance of new painters Who gave rise to a production that switches between drawing, painting, and sculpture. Paulo Whitaker, Carlos Uchôa, Deborah, Paiva, Celso Orsini, Antônio Sergio, Maria Tereza Louro, and Paulo Climachauska are all painters from this group whose works are on display at this exhibition. Other works being shown include a single photograph by Marcelo Arruda, selected for its approximation to the pictorial issues of painting; two lead sculptures by Paulo Monteiro, and a molded-plastic sculpture by Sérgio Romagnolo, whose gesture recalls the act of painting to our mind.

Fim do primeiro tempo (1973/1974) by Dudi Maia RosaMAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

What do all these artists have in common besides painting and dealing with pictorial issues? The fact is that, in their works, they use compositional elements that in one way or another deal with figure. However, this figure is neither committed to the representation of reality, as I have mentioned, nor to content, but mainly to shape, the gesture it enables, and its color. In the words of Bonito Oliva, a figure aimed at "the continuous investigation of the painting matter."

Sem título (1994/1995) by Celso OrsiniMAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

For this reason, often when pondering these works, viewers will not be able to establish a direct connection between figure and reality; what's more, they may not manage to discern a narrative. The figure could be anything, a heart, leg, chair, or hand. Ultimately, the meaning of the figure is not What matters, but its shape and the way in which it contributes to the work visually.

Sem título (1996/1997) by Deborah PaivaMAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

Sem Título (1987/1988) by Carlito CarvalhosaMAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

Another relevant aspect of this exhibition is its assembly. To begin, the gallery walls have been painted dark blue especially for this event and do not serve as support for the works on display¹. Instead, the works have been hung on individual panels so that Figuras, quase figuras is viewed as a whole at the same time that works are shown individually, thus parting with the Cartesian Reading that prevails in XX Century exhibitions, particularly after the appearance of the “white cube” metaphor as the ideal space for displaying works of art.
¹This initiative followed the conception that architect Lina Bo Bardi proposed in her design or MAM's Grande Sala in the early 19805. At that time she suggested the use of both, glass panels on Which two-dimensional works were to be hung, and the painting of walls in various hues of blue.

Sem título (1988/1989) by Paulo PastaMAM, Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

"Desde o início, o Grupo de Estudos de Curadoria do MAM tomou um caráter híbrido. É composto por jovens curadores e uma editora que atuam profissionalmente no Museu no Departamento de Curadoria (Rejane Cintrão, Ricardo Resende e Margarida Sant'Anna), e por jovens curadores independentes (Regina Teixeira de Barros, Felipe Chaimovich e Marcos Moraes). Helouise Costa, também integrante do Grupo, faz parte do corpo de curadores do MAC-USP."

Credits: Story

MAM-SP Sala Paulo Figueiredo

22 de abril a 2 de maio de 1999


Antonio Sérgio
(Itajubá, MG, 1953)
Sem título, 1988
Óleo sobre tela, 140,4 x 150,5 cm
Doação artista

Carlito Carvalhosa
(São Paulo, SP, 1961)
P05/94, 1994
Parafina e cera sobre madeira, 169,5 x 160 cm
Doação José Octaviano Cury

Carlos Uchôa
(São Paulo, SP, 1961)
Cais 2 (A escada de Jacó), 1998
Óleo sobre tela,
20Qx 173 em
Doação artista

Celso Orsini
(Itabira, MG, 1958)
Sem título, 1994
Acrílica sobre tela, 162 x 180 cm
Doação artista

Daniel Senise
(Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 1955)
Devagar com a louça, 1984
Óleo sobre tela, 160 x 129,6 cm
Doação Rubem Breitman

Deborah Paiva
(Campo Grande, MS, 1950)
Sem título, 1996/ 97
Óleo sobre tela, 140 x 140 cm
Doação artista

Dudi Maia Rosa
(São Paulo, SP, 1946)
Sem título, 1989
Fibra de vidro e jornal sobre tela, 150,3 x 151,6 cm
Prêmio Motores MWM Brasil
Panorama 1989

Fábio Noronha
(Curitiba, PR, 1970)
Sem título, 1997
Aquarela e grafite sobre papel, 39,5 x 27 cm
Doação artista
Sem título, 1997
Aquarela e grafite sobre papel, 39,5 x 27 em
Doação artista

(Fortaleza, CE, 1957 - São Paulo, SP, 1993)
Sem título, s. d.
Nanquim e lápis metálico sobre papel, 70 x 50 cm
Doação Carmem Bezerra Dias e Theodorino Torquato Dias

Marcelo Arruda
(São Paulo, SP, 1967)
Dora com unhas azuis, 1996
Fotografia cm cores montada em PVC e alumínio, 99,9 x 150 cm
Doação artista

Maria Tereza Louro
(São Paulo, SP, 1963)
Ela. Três, 1998/99
Acrílica e acrílica sobre tela,
155,5 x 70,5 cm
Doação artista

Nuno Ramos
(São Paulo, SP, 1960)
Lamentação, 1985
Óleo sobre tela,
230,5 x 189,2 cm
Doação Rubem Breitman

Paulo Climachauska
(São Paulo, SP, 1962)
Sem Título, 1998
Lápis de cor sobre acrílica e lápis branco sobre papel colado; óle o, acrílica, lápis de cor preto e nanquim (caneta), 96X66cm
Doação artista

Paulo Monteiro
(São Paulo, SP, 1961)
Sem título, 1985
Óleo sobre tela, 230 x 199,7 em
Doação Rubem Breitman

Sem título, 1990
Chumbo, 31 x 14x 10 cm
Doação Paulo Figueiredo

Sem título, 1990
Chumbo, 50 x 24 x 8 cm
Doação Paulo Figueiredo

Paulo Pasta
(Ariranha, SP, 1959)
Sem título, 1988/ 89
Óleo e cera sobre tela,
130 x 170 em
Doação Marcantonio Vilaça

Paulo Whitaker
(São Paulo, SP, 1958)
Sem título, 1995
Óleo sobre tela, 114 x 115,5 cm
Doação Paulo de Moraes Bourroul

Rodrigo Andrade
(São Paulo, SP, 1962)
Sem título, 1985
Óleo sobre tela,
190,5x 2 20 em
Doação Rubem Breitman

Sérgio Romagnolo
(São Paulo, SP, 1957)
Eva, 1994
Plástico modelado,
179 x 74 x77cm
Doação Galeria Casa Triângulo

Credits: All media
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