Bergamin & Gomide presents ‘Mira Schendel: Sarrafos and Black and White Works’
The gallery showcases important works by the internationally renowned Brazilian artist
Bergamin & Gomide gallery opens an exhibition of works by Mira Schendel, the Swiss-born and Brazilian-naturalized artist, in partnership with Hauser & Wirth and with the collaboration of Olivier Renaud-Clément. The solo exhibition Mira Schendel: Sarrafos e Pretos e Brancos [Sarrafos and Black and White Works] will display about 20 carefully selected works produced between the 1960’s and 1980’s, touching on the various phases of her creative development.
Mira Schendel, one of the most significant Brazilian artists of the 20th Century, developed an extremely complex and unique body of work. Sarrafos (1987), the last complete series created by the artist, is comprised of 12 works, four of which will be on display at the gallery. Sarrafos are composed of a totally white base from which a black wooden rod protrudes, where “the three dimensional character of the element ends up effectively transforming the game by materializing what in principle should be virtual and illusionist. And it is exactly the intimate relation between the element and the surface from which it protrudes that generates a living and non-decidable plastic field. By announcing itself as a painting, the work instead reveals itself to be a quasi-sculpture”, wrote the art critic Ronaldo Brito in 1988.
This series of works makes reference to the political uncertainty griping Brazil at the time: "it was born out of a moment of indecision and disorder that Brazil experienced in March, when it seemed like we were living in a tropical Weimar [Republic]. At that moment, like everyone else, I also felt the need for direction, for a way out. These works are a reaction to the paralysis of that time”, stated Schendel in 1987.
Created between 1985 and 1987, the Black and White series, which precedes Sarrafos, is ‘lyrical’, since its emphasis is on movement and space. They are tempera and plaster paintings that from a distance recall flat panels punctuated by arcs and lines. However, upon closer inspection, they reveal small texture variations that project shadows and form subtle sculptural reliefs.
Paintings and other works created with Japanese rice paper are characterized by minimalist geometric motifs, delicate lines or compound letters that investigate notions of temporality and transience. Experimenting with ephemeral materials, Schendel became increasingly interested in transforming letters and linguistic elements into graphic objects – an approach more commonly associated with concrete poetry. In these works, the letters are liberated and deconstructed, raising questions about language, writing, drawing and images.
Schendel’s first abstract geometric works, created using an earthy palette, were first shown to the public in solo exhibitions in 1950 and 1952. The artist participated in São Paulo’s first International Biennial in 1951; won awards in the Salon exhibitions in Bahia and Rio Grande do Sul between 1951 and 1953; and, in October 1954, Schendel had her first major exhibition at the Museu de Arte Moderna in São Paulo, showing paintings from the series “Geladerias or Fachadas”.
The artist’s solo exhibition will be open to the public from May 22nd to June 23rd at the Galeria Bergamin & Gomide.