Three Brazilian Artists to Watch

Joseph Klarl
Sep 6, 2013 7:42AM

Brazil has arrived. With growing cities like São Paulo birthing a new generation of artists—in addition to the city’s booming biennial and SP-Arte international fair—and those artists inspiring new galleries, the country is poised for a renaissance. Here are three emerging artists, finding common themes in separate mediums, whose work demands it:

1. Eduardo Berliner paints eerie scenes with a visible touch. While his still lifes are akin to stateside contemporaries like Josephine Halvorson—conspicuous strokes of oil paint rendering common, sometimes-ragged images—others veer into surrealism. The logic behind half-remembered scenes breaks down—a coin-operated elephant has human arms, a boy’s hands become pipes in a flooded basement. Whether depicting crumpled blinds or humans donning animal skins (as he often does), Berliner’s images are full of dream logic, like memories both fading and persistent.

2. Cinthia Marcelle works in the city of Belo Horizonte creating films, photography, and sculpture that explore absurd, everyday monotony. Her work confronts deception, in what we take for granted (in so far as presents a bent ruler that appears straight), and what we miss (In Volver, a tractor makes a figure-eight, its driver unable to see it). Automovel, right, presents cars passing on the highway between cuts to black à la Jim Jarmusch’s Stranger Than Paradise. After episodes of Brazil’s traffic congestion, the cars malfunction until drivers push them en masse and abandon them. The artist finds social critique in a sea of blinking headlights.

3. São Paulo artist Nicolás Robbio finds meaning in materials made askew, ephemeral, or at their breaking point. Using torn paper on overhead projectors, he creates the nostalgia of dusk beaming through blinds. Elsewhere he works with taut, vulnerable string, or paints schematics and warnings harkening events that won’t come. Like Berliner and Marcelle, what appears unreal in Robbio’s work allows us to reassess our instincts.

Joseph Klarl
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019