Brazil is buzzing, but it’s been hot before. In the ’70s, filmmaker Carol Diegues’ Bye Bye Brazil captured the country in the midst of dramatic change, and who better to enact his modern day sequel (of sorts) than Sarah Morris. Like a psychologist who peers upon cities through thick, wire-rimmed glasses, Morris has a shrewd eye for the metropolis, and her latest subject is a reverberating Brazilian city she couldn’t turn away if she tried: Rio de Janeiro.
It makes sense, then, to find Apple, a city-themed painting from her “Rio” series, among works at ArtRio, housed in the Mauá Pier upon the iconic Guanabara Bay. Like the works in Morris’s current exhibition at White Cube, titled “Bye Bye Brazil” (with the Cinema Novo film in mind), the painting recalls the everyday encounters of “cariocas” like the geometric Portuguese pavement of the Copacabana—one of many references to Brazilian architecture found in the work—that you might as well be walking on. In abstract, coded diagrams, Morris offers a tour of an urban city filled with patterns and interlocking shapes, recalling Bossa Nova album covers, juice bars, Ipanema beach umbrellas, and a kaleidoscope of colors longing for the tireless samba of the Carnival at Sambódromo.