Trabalho [Work] (2013/16) arose based on a set of professional, personal and affective relationships between Thiago HonĂłrio and a group of civil construction workers. The artist negotiated with cement workers and construction foremen to either barter or donate their work instruments or tools that now make up this installation. They are shovels, chisels, ladders, pickaxes, hoes, mauls, trowels, saws, sickles, paint rollers, brushes, spatulas and other tools that were used in the restoration of an old supply station that belonged to the electrical power company by the name of Light, a building built in the 1920s at Bandeira Square in downtown SĂŁo Paulo, now transformed into the Red Bull Station cultural center.
Begun in the context of an artistâ€™s residency, Thiago HonĂłrioâ€™s work shuffles the places and meanings of art: transiting through the hands of workers, in the operation of displacement brought about by the artist, in the restoration made with the tools, and finally in the architecture of the space where it is now installed. From an ethical point of view, the artist understood that the receipt of what he calls â€śgifts,â€ť from the workers, could only result in a donation of Trabalho to a museum, and that is how it arrived at MASP. The rough, raw and cold appearance of the tools-elements of Trabalho contrasts with the traditional perception of the â€śfine arts,â€ť but is also aligned with the characteristics of the museum buildingâ€™s brutalist architecture with its apparent, uncovered structural elements and lack of luxury finishings (while also contrasting with the refined architecture of traditional fine arts museums).
There is a complex metalinguistic operation underway â€“ the workersâ€™ tools refer to those of the sculptor, except that here they themselves have become sculptures. On the other hand, tools displayed standing up assume an anthropomorphic verticality (referring to the form of the human body), which winds up representing, metonymically, the workers who once possessed them (metonymy is a figure of speech that substitutes a subject or object by something closely related to it). We are therefore observing a lineup of workersâ€™ portraits, which becomes particularly relevant when we remember that the ground-level plaza under MASPâ€™s clear span has hosted all sorts of manifestations and protests by workers of every sort.
The presence of Thiago HonĂłrioâ€™s work has everything to do with the current concerns of the museumâ€™s programming, in regard to the critical revision of not only artists, but also of techniques, languages and modes of production that were left aside, eclipsed by the hegemonic narratives of the history of art, frequently for not being associated with the tastes, protocols and styles of the dominant classes. These questions are clearly present in the reenactement of A mĂŁo do povo brasileiro [The Hand of the Brazilian People] â€” the historical exhibition curated by Lina Bo Bardi in 1969, which will occupy the museumâ€™s first floor beginning on September 1, 2016. Instead of art or artifact, Lina proposed the notion of work [trabalho] to apply to a painting by Candido Portinari just as much as to a tool, insofar as both are products of a human labor, hence the relevance of this Trabalho.
In the context of The Hand of the Brazilian People, 1969/2016 MASP is presenting a short documentary film by Lygia Pape entitled The Hand of the People. Made in 1974, the film focuses on the disappearance of popular artisanal traditions, a concern also shared by MASPâ€™s 1969 exhibition.
As a major figure affiliated to the concrete and neoconcrete groups in the 1950s, working within the constructive tradition and the language of geometric abstraction, Pape was drawn to the visual and formal vocabulary of the popular. This interest was first made apparent in her Tecelares woodcut prints (1955-1959), and would intensify in the 1960s.
After the dissolution of the neoconcrete group in 1963, Pape turned her attention to film and the then-nascentCinema Novo movement. She collaborated with filmmakers designing posters and/or film credit sequences for films such as Vidas secas (Nelson Pereira dos Santos, 1963), Ganga Zumba (Carlos Diegues, 1963), Maioria absoluta (Leon Hirszman, 1964), Deus e o diabo na terra do sol (Glauber Rocha, 1964), MemĂłria do cangaĂ§o(Paulo Gil Soares, 1965), among others. Many of them dealt with social issues such as poverty, illiteracy, exploitation, against the backdrop of the arid backlands of northeast Brazil.
Pape produced and directed her own experimental films such as Wampirou (1974), Eat me (1975), andCatiti-Catiti: na terra dos brasis (1978), born out of her engagement with what she called cinema marginal, â€śa revolutionary act of invention, a new reality, the world as change, error as adventure, and the discovery of freedom: films lasting ten, twenty secondsâ€‰â€”â€‰anti-films.â€ť In 1974 she directed The Hand of the People, which attests to her commitment to the material culture of the Brazilian people. This is an important issue that she addressed in her 1980 masters thesis entitled Catiti-Catiti: na terra dos brasis, where she points to â€śmisery as a common denominator that triggers the creative processâ€ť but also identifies a constructive impulse in the production of the Brazilian people: â€śwe recognize a constructive tropism in Brazilian art that easily refers to indigenous and African origins in the recycled objects of the Northeast, in the permanence of geometric elements of carnival, in the patchwork quilts of Minas Gerais, in popular ceramics, in the spontaneous seaside architecture.â€ť
Made five years after the exhibition The Hand of the Brazilian People, Papeâ€™s film bears a close title and concern, evidencing her inscription within a wider discussion on popular culture that was taking place in Brazil in the 1960s and 1970s; a framework that also included the pioneering work developed by Lina Bo Bardi through MASPâ€™s 1969 exhibition now restaged on the first floor.
The art of the poor frightens the generals
Bruno Zevi, Lâ€™Espresso, Roma,14.3.1965
The Hand of the Brazilian People was the inaugural temporary exhibition at MASP on Avenida Paulista in 1969, presenting a vast panorama of the rich material culture of Brazilâ€”around a thousand objects, including figureheads, votive figures, textiles, garments, furniture, tools, utensils, machinery, musical instruments, ornaments, toys, religious objects, paintings, and sculptures. Conceived by Lina Bo Bardi, with the director of the museum Pietro Maria Bardi, filmmaker Glauber Rocha, and theater director Martim GonĂ§alves, the exhibition was an unfolding of others organized by the architect of MASP in SĂŁo Paulo (1959), Salvador (1963), and Rome (1965), the latter closed down upon orders of the Brazilian military government, prompting an article by architect Bruno Zevi entitled Lâ€™arte dei poveri fa paura ai generali.
To give value to a production frequently marginalized by the museum and art history, MASP, known for its collection of European masterpieces, engaged in a radical gesture of decolonization. To decolonize the museum meant to rethink it from a bottom-up perspective, presenting art as work. In this sense, a painting by Brazilian modernist Candido Portinari and a hoe were both considered workâ€”a notion that transcended the distinctions between art, artifact, and craft.
In its new phase, MASP seeks to re-establish and deepen its relation to this production, taking as a point of departure the restaging of one of its most iconic exhibitions. The Hand of the Brazilian People is inscribed in a lineage of many other exhibitions at MASP (including the pioneering Popular Art from Pernambuco, in 1949); here, it is taken as an object of study and an exemplary precedent of a decolonizing museum practice.
Furthermore, it is an opportunity to present this production to the public, and to stimulate reflection and debate on its status in the context of the museum and art history, as well as on the contested notions of â€śpopular artâ€ť and â€śpopular culture.â€ť The central question posed by the exhibition (and a possibly subversive one to the eyes of the generals of taste) is: in which way can the histories of art and culture in Brazil be reconstructed, recollected, and reconfigured beyond the mores, tastes, and protocols of the dominant classes? A perfect reconstruction of The Hand of the Brazilian People is impossible. We opted to follow the spirit of the original curatorial proposal, making some adjustments. We did not find a complete list of works, rather lists of collectors and museums, which we approached once again, gathering similar works and respecting object typologies. Likewise, its architecture follows that of 1969, but also with adaptions. We decided not to update the time frame of the exhibitionâ€”to our knowledge, the objects gathered here were made before 1970â€”yet have articulated dialogues around work and the popular with solo presentations of artists from different generations: Candido Portinari, Jonathas de Andrade, Lygia Pape, and Thiago HonĂłrio. Our interest here is to understand the significance of that inaugural and historical moment of the museum, in order to find new paths and strengthen the presence of the hand of the people at MASP.
Candido Portinari (1903â€“1962) is one of the most important and controversial Brazilian artists, and his work has a long relation with MASP, which owns 18 of his artworks. Popular Portinari is the 12th exhibition organized by the Museum, and does not aim to offer a comprehensive overview of the artistâ€™s oeuvre; rather, it presents a specific cross-section. The showâ€™s title meanings â€” referring not only to the artistâ€™s popularity (his 1944 canvas Retirantes [Migrants] is the work in our collection that is most often posted in social media), but also to his popular, commonplace background, thematics, iconography and diction.
The focus is on the paintings with themes, narratives and figures of popular Brazilian culture â€” workers in their various activities (agricultural workers on coffee plantations or other sorts of farms, washerwomen, musicians, wildcat gold miners), popular characters and types (the cangaceiro bandit, the migrant, the woman in traditional Bahian dress, the CarajĂˇ Indian) and common folk of non-European ethnicities and races (Afro-Brazilians, mulattos, Indians). The characters appear in different geographic and social contexts (in Brodowski, the painterâ€™s city of birth in the interior of SĂŁo Paulo State, in impoverished landscapes, or in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro), having fun or playing games, dancing or playing music, watching a circus or attending popular festivals, but also feeling pain â€” in misery, in death. Portinari painted hundreds of portraits of the Brazilian elite, which are not included here, with one exception: MĂˇrio de Andrade (1893â€“1945), an important interlocutor of the artist, the first great interpreter of his work, and a pioneer in the study and valorization of Brazilian popular culture.
The exhibition brings together different representations of popular themes that recurred in Portinariâ€™s work over the decades, thereby evincing his commitment and determined engagement with them. It should be remembered that the artist himself was the son of Italian immigrants who worked in the coffee harvest. Thus, many of the images that Portinari painted over the course of his career are scenes from his own life experience. This extraordinary selection constructs a wide-ranging, profound and sensitive panorama of Brazilian visual history, outside the fashions, tastes and protocols of the dominant classes.
The exhibition design is based on the one used for the 1970 show at MASP entitled Cem obras-primas de Portinari, conceived by Lina Bo Bardi (1914â€“1992), the architect who designed the museumâ€™s building. Portinari popular begins a program of the revision of the production of some key Brazilian modernist artists such as Tarsila do Amaral (1886â€“1973) and Vicente do Rego Monteiro (1899â€“1970), based on contents and narratives related to elements of Brazilian popular culture, thereby fostering discussions on race and the countryâ€™s social reality and cultural identity. MASPâ€™s interest in popular culture is not new, and this exhibition dialogues with the restaging of The Hand of the Brazilian People, beginning September 1 in the gallery on the museumâ€™s first floor. Why Portinari Popular today? We still suffer from precarious and prejudiced representations of African, Indian and popular cultures and subjects in Brazilian media, politics, society and also in art. It is necessary to deepen the reflection about these strategies of representation, something that the artistâ€™s work anticipates, hence its urgency and relevance.
“Every child is a law in himâ€‰â€”â€‰or herself”â€‰â€”Â MarioÂ Pedrosa
HistĂłrias da infĂ˘nciaÂ [Histories of Childhood] features multiple and diverse representations of childhood from different periods, territories and schools, from the art of Africa and Asia to that of Brazil, Cusco and Europe, including sacred, baroque, academic, modern, contemporary and the so-called popular art, as well as drawings made by children.
The exhibition is part of a project by MASP to juxtapose different collections, disregarding hierarchies and territories that would otherwise segregate them. In thisÂ sense, the histories inÂ HistĂłrias da infĂ˘nciaÂ are also decolonizing histories and take onÂ a political meaningâ€‰â€”â€‰there is an understanding that the histories that we can tell areÂ not only those of dominant classes, or of European culture and its visual conventions.Â Thus,Â HistĂłrias da infĂ˘nciaÂ is part of a larger program of exhibitions concerning different (multiple, diverse and plural)histories, beyond the traditional narrativesâ€‰â€”â€‰HistĂłriasÂ da loucuraÂ [Histories of Madness] andÂ HistĂłrias feministasÂ [Feminist Histories] (begunÂ in 2015),Â HistĂłrias da sexualidade[Histories of Sexuality] (in 2017) andÂ HistĂłriasÂ da escravidĂŁoÂ [Histories of Slavery] (in 2018). They are other histories, which include groups, voices and images that were repressed or marginalized, in which children and their way of seeing the world are inserted. Here, not by chance, the average heightÂ of the works on display was lowered about 30 cm in relation to the conventional eye level in museums, seeking a relationship closer to the gaze and body of the child.
HistĂłrias da infĂ˘nciaÂ is organized around permeable thematic clusters. On the first sublevel, we find the themes of nativity and motherhood; on the first floor, there are individual and family portraits, pictures of the world of education and games, of artist-children, of angel-children and, finally, of death. Iconic works in MASP’s collectionâ€‰â€”Â likeThe Schoolboy, by Van Gogh,Â Pink and Blue, by Renoir,Â Portrait of AugusteÂ Gabriel Godefroy,by Chardin, andÂ CrianĂ§a mortaÂ [Dead Child] by Portinariâ€‰â€”â€‰appearÂ in new, transversal and contemporary contexts, in juxtaposition to works from all eras.Â The exhibition design with hanging panels that do not form closed rooms allows for anarticulation between the various clusters and artworks. The exhibition establishes linksÂ withPlaygrounds 2016â€‰â€”â€‰being held on the second sublevel and in the street-level plazaÂ under the building’s clear spanâ€‰â€”â€‰dialoguing with it through reference to playfulness, and though a program of drawing workshops, begun in January 2016 and extendingÂ until the end of the exhibition. During the curatorial process, MASP’s Mediation Department also developed an experimental project by gathering histories about someÂ artworks in the museum’s collection told by children from two schools in SĂŁo Paulo, Escola Municipal de Ensino Fundamental Desembargador Amorim Lima andÂ ColĂ©gio SĂŁo Domingos, with a view toward a future audio guide for the collectionÂ (the audio files are available atÂ bit.ly/maspmuseu). In this way, the exhibitionÂ acknowledges and includes the histories told by the children themselves: presented on equal standing with the other works, are drawings in the museum’s collectionÂ made by children in the 1970s, the 2000s, and most recently in 2016. There is muchÂ to learn from these drawings, exchanges and histories.
Throughout the 76 years since its founding in 1939, theÂ Foto Cine Clube BandeiranteÂ [FCCB] has had a total of more than five thousand members, as it passed though four locations in SĂŁo Paulo â€“ beginning on the 22nd floor of theÂ Â EdifĂcio Martinelli until reaching its current address at 1108 Rua Augusta. Like various groups and clubs that proliferated around the world in the 20th century, the FCCB is part of a large network for the exchange of photographic images.Â
Through its salons, exhibitions and publications it has for many years been SĂŁo Paulo’s most important hub of information and technical training in regard to photography, and for the dissemination of criticism, precepts and interchange among aficionados of photography, whether they be amateurs or professionals. This exhibition presents 279 works by 85 of its members, part of a large archive put together by the FCCB over various decades. The selection on display originated in 2014 based on a loan of 275 photographs and the donation of another four by individuals.
The exhibition is guided by two fundamental notions: that of theÂ archiveÂ and that of theÂ network.
TheÂ archiveÂ is what was constituted by the set of photographs that accumulated in the drawers of the FCCB. The drawers contain the photographs that traveled around Brazil and the world, participating in exhibitions and salons. Each photograph is more than an image, since its back evidences its path by way of seals, notations and stamps. This back is just as important as the image, insofar as it records the photo’s participation in a vast, prolific and long-standing network for the exchange of photographs and information. For this reason, the exhibition shows the front and back of the photographs.
To emphasize the idea of theÂ network, the photographic prints were organized chronologically, according to their first participation in an exhibition. The decision to display the photographs without frames, occupying the inclined panels in two linear rows, is a reference to the simple and unpretentious way that they were originally exhibited at the salons.
On the walls, there is a chronological list of the salons in which the photographs were shown, along with a world map with the places where the exhibitions were held. The research into this archive is complemented by some passages excerpted from about 250 bulletins published by the FCCB, evincing the development of the club’s debates and thought about photography, ever since its founding. A display case presents the catalogs of the first 31 photography salons held by the FCCB.
If this exhibition can be understood as a decisive step in the process of the legitimation of modern Brazilian photography, which has now arrived at the museum, it also seeks to situate the practice of photography in a wider context â€“ between the 1940s and the 1980s. In this context we see the FCCB’s importance for the encouragement and training of amateur and professional photographers, the spread of information about a specific practice that was not yet being taught at technical or art schools, and the formation of a public that appreciated photography â€“ then a “new art” that was both democratic and accessible.
Exhibition curated by RosĂ˘ngela RennĂł, adjunct curator of photography at MASP
Elementos de beleza: Um jogo de chĂˇ nunca Ă© apenas um jogo de chĂˇÂ [Elements of Beauty: A Tea Set Is Never Just a Tea Set], a work that is part of MASP’s collection and is being shown for the first time in Brazil, is based on research by Carla Zaccagnini concerning the suffragettes â€“ activists who fought for the woman’s right to vote in England at the beginning of the 20th century. From 1909 onward, the suffragettes began breaking the windows of politicians’ homes and public buildings, as well as store windows â€“ targets full of symbolism, on the borderline between the public and the private. They later aimed their attention â€“ and their weapons â€“ at the museums and the narratives they disseminate, especially in regard to masculine power, patriarchalism and depictions of women with idealized bodies or in rigid social roles.
On March 10, 1914, Mary Richardson entered the National Gallery of London as though she were an ordinary visitor. After a time spent sketchingÂ Velasquez’s masterpiece paintingÂ RokebyÂ Venus, however, she pulled a meat cleaver out of her sleeve and used it to break the painting’s protective glass and slash the canvas seven times in the section that shows the goddess’s nude torso â€“ marks which she defined as “hieroglyphs,” able to express something “to future generations.” Her declaration also stated:Â “JusticeÂ is an element of beautyÂ asÂ muchÂ asÂ colorÂ and outline onÂ canvas.” Through her project, Zaccagnini reminds us that behind the political thrust of these and other actions by the suffragettes there pulses a certain relation with the image and its mechanisms of exhibition.
The suffragettes attacked a total of 29 artworks and ethnographic and archaeological artifacts.Â Elementos de belezaÂ refers to this selection of items, arranging on a large wall 23 frames painted directly on the white surface, in the same dimensions as the originals,Â along with six numbers to represent those artworks whose size is unknown.Â The visitor is oriented by an audio guide with conjectures concerning what may have motivated the activists to choose a certain artwork and not another, pointing to possible relationships between the elements depicted and the type of damage that the canvases suffered.
Feminism and the question of gender are not the artist’s only concerns in this project, which deals with currently urgent themes such as the participation of minorities in democratic decisions, the conservatism of the political elites who resist change, the crisis of social identities and representation in the public sphere in the 20th century, activism and the confrontation of oppressive structures, and, finally and especially, the challenge to the power constituted by the system of art and its institutions, in which female artists suffer from gender discrimination, treated differently than their male counterparts. For Zaccagnini â€“ interested in the discourse’s unfoldings and its political and cultural consequences, as well as how it is conveyed in the media, in the system of art and in another systems â€“ this work “approaches art objects as agents with a social role, able to carry out an active historical and political function, even during their museological existence.
It is important to note that this work is debuting in Brazil at a socially intense moment for both the country and the world, when the dilemmas of the model of political representativity by way of voting is accompanied by a greater presence of people in the public space, which includes the debate on the renovation of feminism in Brazil, as was also expressed in the recent marches on Avenida Paulista.Â Elementos de belezaÂ is being held at MASP, a museum whose free span has become synonymous with a public square for every sort of manifestation, exposing political impasses and contrasts that epitomize the contradictions of our time, while also revealing that the suffragettes’ struggle for a more egalitarian society has not yet been completely won.
Exhibition curated by Fernando Oliva, curator at MASP
MASP has substantial holdings of the work of Argentine LeĂłn Ferrari (1920â€“2013), which were gifted to the museum by the artist himself. They include heliographies, a set of Xerox works, as well as two paintings, two sculptures, and one object, most of them â€“ with the exception of two early works from the 1960s â€“ produced during the period of his 15-year exile in SĂŁo Paulo.
Ferrari arrived in Brazil in 1976, having fled Buenos Aires at the height of the "guerra sucia" [dirty war] that ravaged his home country. By this time he had a long trajectory behind him, and had been an active participant in the avant-garde conceptually oriented movements that emerged in Buenos Aires and Rosario during the 1960s. The works that Ferrari produced in Brazil continued to be critical of dictatorial regimes and of how they exercise control over the population by regulating every aspect of life. The works in this exhibition address these issues through different aesthetic, conceptual, and material operations. The first series, related to his artist books Homens [Men] and Imagens [Images], as well as to his HeliografĂas [Heliographies], resort to the visual language of technical and architectural drawing to represent the various ideological apparatuses imposed by the state to systematically control the daily life of citizens. The second group of works â€“ which includes the images related to his artist book Parahereges [For Heretics] as well as those made for another series, Releitura da BĂblia [Rereading of the Bible] â€“ addresses religion and the Church, critiquing their conservative positions in regard to sexuality and social mores.
The print and Xerox works are revealing of the context in which Ferrari was working under the dictatorships in both Argentina and Brazil. During his stay in Brazil, he was in contact with artists who were interested in the potential of the print medium in times of political and economic instability, since its low cost and reproducibility afforded greater mobility and distribution. This circle of artists â€“ Carmela Gross, Hudinilson JĂşnior (1957â€“2013), Regina Silveira, and Julio Plaza (1938â€“2003), who were working in heliography, Xerox, microfilm and Letraset â€“ may have influenced his experimentation with these media. The graphic works by LeĂłn Ferrari that are part of MASP's collection are representative of the important directions in which his work evolved during the years of his exile between two dictatorships.
Exhibition curated by Julieta GonzĂˇlez, adjuct curator of modern and contemporary art at MASP; and TomĂˇs Toledo, curator at MASP.
For the first time, MASP is showing its complete Rhodia fashion collection, featuring clothes created through a collaboration between artists and designers in the 1960s. The collection of 79 pieces, selected by Pietro Maria Bardi (1900â€“1999), the museumâ€™s founding director, was donated in 1972 by Rhodia. The French chemical manufacturer promoted its synthetic fabrics in Brazil through fashion spectacles, collections and press articles, according to a strategy devised by LĂvio Rangan (1933â€“1984), the companyâ€™s visionary publicity manager. The fashion shows presented between 1960 and 1970 were true spectacles that brought together professionals from the fields of theater, dance, music and the arts. Held at the Feira Nacional da IndĂşstria TĂŞxtil [National Textile Industry Fair] (Fenit), Brazilâ€™s largest fashion event at the time, each show featured up to 150 designs, with two collections per year traveling throughout Brazil and internationally.
The group of pieces belonging to MASP is the only one still remaining from this production and includes articles of clothing from different fashion collections. Each garment is a custom-made, unique piece made solely for promoting the brand. Keenly aware of international fashion trends in the 1960s â€“ one of the most revolutionary periods in the history of fashion â€“ Rangan was a source of information regarding international trends that was reprocessed through the combined effort of artists and fashion designers. Ranganâ€™s choice of artists revealed his interest in dialoguing with â€‹ â€‹contemporary art, and the designs they produced reflect the main trends in art and fashion in those years. Rhodiaâ€™s fashion spectacles had a powerful impact on the media thanks to the participation of well-known Brazilian artists and musicians, boosting the Brazilian fashion system.
MASPâ€™s fashion collection includes pieces with fabric patterns designed by artists who worked with geometric abstraction, such as Willys de Castro (1926â€“1988), HĂ©rcules Barsotti (1914â€“2010), Antonio Maluf (1926â€“2005), Waldemar Cordeiro (1925â€“1973), and Alfredo Volpi (1896â€“1988); with informal abstraction, such as Manabu Mabe (1924â€“1997) and Antonio Bandeira (1922â€“1967); with popular Brazilian references, such as CarybĂ© (1911â€“1997), Aldemir Martins (1922â€“2006), Lula Cardoso Ayres (1910â€“1987), Heitor dos Prazeres (1898â€“1966), Manezinho AraĂşjo (1910â€“1993), Gilvan Samico (1928â€“2013), Francisco Brennand and CarmĂ©lio Cruz; and by others, associated with pop art, such as Nelson Leirner and Carlos Vergara.â€‹ â€‹MASPâ€™s Rhodia Collection evidences the creative potential of a collaboration between art, fashion, design and industry, which has remained unique and unparalleled in Brazil until today, inspiring creativity and new discussions in the current fashion scene.
Exhibition curated by PatrĂcia Carta, adjuct curator of fashion at MASP; and TomĂˇs Toledo, curator at MASP.
This exhibition covers nearly 200 years of French art production, from the18th century to the 20th. The works include portraits, landscapes and still lifes, as well as paintings of historical themes and scenes from everyday life, all of which belong to the Southern Hemisphereâ€™s most important collection from that period. The artists represented here are from the neoclassical tradition, such as Ingres, and the romantic one, such as Delacroix; there are also names linked to movements that were precursors to modernism, such as the realism of Courbet; the impressionism of Monet and Degas; the post-impressionism of CĂ©zanne, Van Gogh and Gauguin; the Nabis style of Vuillard; and the cubism of Picasso and LĂ©ger. Some were not born in France, but worked thereâ€“Picasso, Modigliani, Van Gogh and Zamoyski.
Most of these works bear witness to the political, social, and cultural transformations that marked Europe during the19th century and beginning of the 20th, when art gained other circuits beyond the salons and official commissionsâ€”such as the press and the specialized critics; bars bubbling with the life of the new bourgeoisie and intelligentsia; the studios and the importance of their expanded dimension, especially?in the case of Picasso; and the alternative academies, such as Julian and Suisse, which offered different options to the more traditional training of the Ă‰cole de Beaux-Arts.
This exhibition privileged complete sets from the collection, by renowned artists such as Renoir, Toulouse- Lautrec, Modigliani and Manet. Delacroix and CĂ©zanne, shown together in the same space, serve to point out directions for the entire exhibition path, since each in his own time pointed toward the past as well as the future of art history, delineating transitions between tradition and the modern, between the old and the new; for example, between Ingres and LĂ©ger. CĂ©zanne, who considered Delacroix as a master and studied painting by making copies of his canvases, knew how to look at his work and perceive modernist qualities in them. Revisiting those ideas, CĂ©zanne lent them new meanings and shifted the balance among various elements of the composition and the painting, lending more emphasis on the brushstroke and less on the subject matter, while above all allowing his works to retain a seemingly unfinished character.
The show also features items from MASPâ€™s historic and photographic archive, such as correspondence concerning donations, acquisitions, invitations, exhibition brochures, press clippings and photographs that recover part of the history of the artworks and of the museum itself. Presented on the same plane as the paintings, they point to a redefinition of places and hierarchies between the works of art and their history within the institution, offering a new status for the materials normally kept away from public view. The arrangement of the panels, steel cables and artworks, coupled with the relation that these elements bear to each other and the surrounding space, takes up the project of Lina Bo Bardi, the architect of MASP. As early as1950, in the former headquarters at Rua 7 de Abril, her exhibition design had already anticipated notions of transparency, lightness and suspension, without divisions into rooms or a rigid chronology. These fundamental choices paved the way for her radical solution of displaying paintings on glass easels which, absent since1996, are returning to MASP at the end of this year.
ARTISTS Amedeo Modigliani, August Zamoyski, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Edouard Vuillard, EugĂ¨ne Delacroix, Fernand LĂ©ger, ?Gustave Courbet, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Henri Matisse, HonorĂ© Daumier, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-Baptiste-SimeĂłn Chardin, Jean-HonorĂ© Fragonard, Jean-Marc Nattier, Marie Laurencin, Pablo Picasso, Paul CĂ©zanne, Paul Gauguin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Suzane Valadon and Vincent van Gogh.
Exhibition curated by Adriano Pedrosa, artistic director; EugĂŞnia Gorini Esmeraldo, coordinator of exchanges department; and Fernando Oliva, assistant curator.
I sought, at the Museu de Arte de SĂŁo Paulo, to resume certain positions. I sought (and hope it happens) to re-create an “environment” at Trianon. And I would like the public to go there, to see exhibitions in the open air and to discuss, listen to music, watch films. I would like children to play in the morning and afternoon sun. â€” LINA BO BARDI, 1967
Playgrounds 2016 presents six new works by artists that consider the public’s engagement in the museum and its surroundings. CĂ©line Condorelli (France/ United Kingdom), Ernesto Neto (Brazil), Grupo ContrafilĂ© (Brazil), O Grupo Inteiro (Brazil), Rasheed Araeen (Pakistan/ United Kingdom) and Yto Barrada (Morocco) are artists whose practices involve playfulness, participation, the public sphere and collective shared experience, which is why they were invited to conceive proposals thatÂ recapture the spirit ofÂ Playgrounds, a solo show by artist Nelson Leirner held at MASP.
At Leirner’s show, in 1969, the year that MASP was opened to the public on Avenida Paulista, the artist occupied the ground-level plaza beneath the building’s clear span â€” a hybrid, borderline space of transition, since it is under the museum’s building but administered by the city government.Â PlaygroundsÂ (1969) included a series of participative works set up in the open air, activating the street and the urban space, blurring the borders between art and life, the museum and its exterior.
The word “playground” is also used in Portuguese to denote an area in a city, at a school, or in a building that has recreational equipment for children to play on. In English, the word “play” includes the senses of playing a role, a musical instrument or a video, while “ground” can denote an area (“grounds”) or the earth itself. Understanding the space of art as a playground requires us to considerÂ all of these senses, articulating and opening them up to others. In this context,Â Playgrounds 2016Â seeks to recover the dimension of engagement and experienceÂ with art in an enlarged and liberating way, allowing for the manifestation of collective life in the city and in the museum. This aspect is also present in the idea of the museum through Lina Bo Bardi’s architecture. In one of her drawings for the museum,Â Esculturas praticĂˇveis do Belvedere, Museu Arte TrianonÂ [Practical Sculptures for the Belvedere, Museu Arte Trianon], the artist portrays the area under the clearÂ span as a playground for children. With this proposal, the museum would become a living, dynamic organism, where the children (as well as adults) could accessÂ it and get to know its collection with curiosity and autonomy.
Playgrounds 2016, held in the public square under MASP’s clear span, as well
as in the second basement level and on the mezzanine of the first basement level, unites the museum’s mediation and exhibition programs while also dialoguing with the exhibitionÂ HistĂłrias da infĂ˘nciaÂ [Stories of Childhood], beginning April 7. Through art, playfulness and games it is possible to imagine new ways of living together and learning. Education takes place throughout the museum, understood as also being an environment of exchange and transformation of everyone and everything involved: artists, artworks, the museum and its publics.