Some of the brightest examples of contemporary art and design in Brazil are currently on display along the banks of the Thames River in London. An exhibition titled “From the Margin to the Edge: Brazilian Art and Design in the XXI Century,” staged at Casa Brasil on the mezzanine level of Somerset House, includes more than 70 works by 33 artists. The collection of paintings, sculptures, photographs, video installations and graphic design is open to the public (free of charge) through Sept. 8.
According to curator Rafael Cardoso, the exhibition is meant to break general and artistic stereotypes regarding the country that will host the Rio 2016™ Olympic and Paralympic Games. In addition to Brazil’s political and economic global ascension, the emergence of Brazilian artists on the international scene is an achievement to be celebrated. The direction of Brazil’s cultural contributions is reflected in the title, “From the Margin to the Edge.”
“The exhibition showcases the works of artists and designers, bringing together the best of modern Brazilian production,” Cardoso says. “The artists represent nearly all Brazilian regions and the integration between the Brazilian artistic environment and the world (through Brazilians residing abroad or, in one case, a foreign artist living in Brazil).
“Some of them are internationally recognized artists. Other artists are new and virtually unknown. They all have in common high-quality works to be featured in the exhibition, offering a harmonious picture of the best of Brazilian contemporary art production.
“The exhibition’s conception is chiefly based on the lack of bias against any form of expression, contemplating with equal interest diverging media and support—installation, painting, photograph, video and sculpture, among others. This explains the reunion of art and design, investigating the relationship between these areas in its highest level. ‘From the Margin to the Edge’ celebrates Brazil’s contemporary, bold and cosmopolitan art production, and it also proposes a reflection on the contribution of Brazilian art to the great discussions that move the art world.”
Three large thematic rooms
The exhibition, which includes works created from 2002 on, was produced by Rafael
Cardoso, and designed by Daniela Thomas and Felipe Tassara from Tecnopop design company (the creator of the Chico Dub content). The executive producer is Automatica, whose track record includes successful exhibitions at Europalia (Belgium, 2011) and ARCO (Madrid, 2009).
The exhibition features three large thematic rooms that represent a path of ideas. “Each room revolves around dualities,” Cardoso says. “The first, Raw/Cooked, is about the assumptions made on Brazil by Europeans, and it aims to break stereotypes. The second room showcases Gambiarra/Craftsmanship, two opposed terms with no easy translation between English and Portuguese. This room represents the cultural [untranslatable aspect], the strangeness, and it deals with the efficiency-versus-improvisation issue.
“The third room is Preserve/Transform, two verbs that point out the direction of relations between Brazil and the world in the 21st century. In view of the environmental crisis and globalization, how can we analyze the delicate relation between preservation and transformation? Visitors experience these three moments as if they were listening to a story told by the artwork: two adjectives, which describe one thought; two nouns that define a single condition; two verbs that point out the same path. Thesis, antithesis, synthesis. A process of transformation through art.”