Stephen Friedman Gallery is proud to present Brazilian artist Tonico Lemos
Auad’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. The artist continues his long-standing
exploration of traditional craft by investigating themes of architecture, landscape
and human interaction. Through everyday materials such as linen, wool, stone
and wood, the viewer is treated to a series of new textile reliefs, sculptures and
Auad’s unique way of working subverts traditional techniques such as stitch
work, woodcarving and stonemasonry and opens up new possibilities in drawing,
weaving, sculpture and installation. One can immediately recognise his work
for its extraordinary deftness of touch and the way it bridges the modern and
contemporary. Through collaborations with a range of specialised makers, Auad
explores the crossover between craft, skill, tradition and cultural inheritance.
New textile works in shades of white, red and black begin as small handstitched
rectangles, each with a unique combination of stitches and interwoven
threads of wool, linen, cotton, paper and silk. Together they become a single,
organic patchwork which retains signs of the artist’s hand. This labour-intensive
technique creates a rich idiosyncratic surface study.
Accompanying these are a group of geometric crochet works inspired by
indigenous face painting, particularly from the Carajás tribe of central Brazil. These
works suggest the human form – the larger reliefs echo a torso and the geometric
abstractions, a face.
On the floor of one room is a stone and textile installation that combines craft and
sculpture in a familiar way. Four limestone plinths of equal dimensions hold several
textile pots. Placed together they recall traditional clay coil pots. But Auad’s pots
are made from coils of Tunisian stitched multi-coloured yarn. Working intuitively,
he carefully determines the site of each pot with the precision and spatial clarity
of a meditative landscape – a concept he explored at the 13th Sharjah Biennial in
2017 and the De le Warr Pavilion in 2016.
Running the length of the wall in the same room is a hand-carved wooden
structure that suggests a direct spatial relation with the architecture of the
room. Facing it is a shelf comprising L-shaped pieces of wooden carved (douglas
fir) clasping folded linen. Simply and austerely, they resemble an architectural
construction, a book shelf, or even two hands joined together.
On the wall in another room are a body of textile works that suggest remote
landscapes with rigorous geometric compositions. Using mostly linen and cotton,
they feature the same Tunisian stitch and each work is made from one continuous
At a time of increasing technological automation, Auad celebrates the irregularity
of the craftsman’s hand, embracing the everyday poetry of each gesture. And with
textile being the constant in his practice, it acts as an interface between human
presence and the built environment.
On the occasion of the exhibition the first monograph of the artist’s career to date
will be launched at the gallery in March 2018.
In 2016 Auad was the subject of a major solo exhibition at De La Warr Pavilion in
East Sussex, UK. Other recent solo exhibitions include; ‘Tonico Lemos Auad’, Pivô,
curated by Kiki Mazzuchelli, São Paulo, Brazil (2015), ‘Paisagem Noturna’, Galeria
Luisa Strina, São Paulo, Brazil (2013); ‘Tonico Lemos Auad’, Stephen Friedman
Gallery, London, England (2012-2013); ‘Figa,’ CRG Gallery, New York, USA (2012);
‘Sleep Walkers,’ Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2011); ‘Epílogo,’
Zapopan Museum, Zapopan, Mexico (2010); ‘Mouth, Ears, Eyes…Just like us,’
Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2009); ‘Silent Singing,’ CRG Gallery,
New York, USA (2008); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado, USA (2007).
Group exhibitions include; Sharjah Biennal 13, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates;
Drawing Biennial 2017, Drawing Room, London, England; Loose Threads, De Leon,
Bath, England (2017); ‘Soft Power, Arte Brasil’, Kunsthal KAdE, Amersfoort, The
Netherlands (2016);’All Heritage is Poetry’, Fundação Eugénio de Almeida, Evora,
Portugal (2016); ’What Separates Us’, HS Projects, The Embassy of Brazil, London,
England (2016); ‘Drawing Biennial’, Drawing Room, London, England (2015), ‘Warp
and woof’, The Hole, New York, USA (2014), ‘A Sense of Things’, Zabludowicz
Collection, London, England (2014); ‘Threaded Stories’, Stephen Friedman Gallery,
London, England (2013); ‘3am: Wonder, Paranoia and the ‘Restless Night’, The
Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK; travelling to Chapter, Cardiff, Wales, UK; The Exchange,
Penzance, Cornwall, UK; Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, UK; ‘Site: Place of Memories,
Spaces with Potential,’ Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima,
Japan (2013); ‘Labour and Wait,’ Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, USA
(2013); ‘Além da Vanguarda,’ Bienal Naifs do Brasil, SESC Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil
(2012); ‘Mythologies, Cité Internationale des Arts,’ Paris (2011); ‘Undone: Making and
Unmaking in Contemporary Sculpture,’ Henry Moore Institute, Leeds (2010); ‘Epílogo,’
Museo de Arte Zapopan, Guadalajara, Mexico (2010; ‘Going International,’ The Flag
Art Foundation, New York, USA (2010); ‘Textiles Art and the Social Fabric’, MUHKA,
Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp, Belgium (2009); ‘Blooming: Brazil-Japan
Where you are,’ Toyota Municipal Art Museum, Japan (2008); ‘The British Art Show
06,’ Hayward Gallery touring exhibition, UK (2006).
His work is included in the public collections of the British Friends of the Art
Museums of Israel, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of
Art, New York, USA; San Diego Museum of Art, California, USA; The West Collection,
Pennsylvania, USA, Zabludowicz Collection, London, England; Tate Collection,
England; The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, USA; The Museum of Contemporary
Art, Vigo, Spain; Pinacoteca de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; Santa Barbara Museum
of Art, USA; Instituto Cultural Inhotim, Brumadinho, MG, Brazil and Pizzuti Collection,
Columbia, Ohio, USA.