Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro) is pleased to host kurimanzutto (New York and Mexico City) for a collaborative exhibition at Casa da Cultura da Comporta. The meeting of the two galleries’ programs presents a chance to explore works spanning distinct genres, techniques, and geographies within a unified curatorial perspective.
The exhibition unfolds in two acts. The first act opens on July 8 and proposes the natural world as that which is external to us. The selection of works showcase diverse ways in which space can be depicted and explored, encompassing intricate investigations on architecture and landscapes. Through varied applications of forms and materials, the sculptures, photographs, and paintings in act one collapse the delineation between organic and constructed space.
Plants teeter between the abstract and the figural in the work of Gabriel Orozco (Mexico, 1962). In his Suisai series (2016), daubs of pale green, mauve, and ochre ink gather in mimetic forms of nature. Within the pools of ink are a familiar lexicon of geometric circles enhanced by the schematic arrangement found in Dé Fruit (2017). Orozco’s work reveals cyclic actions that unfold in nature as they mediate between the geometric and the organic, stillness and movement.
In Luiz Zerbini’s (Brazil, 1959) large-scale painting Musa Miraculosa (2023), layers of intricate patterns form complex prints of foliage that are half-dissolved in abstract structures with meticulously detailed textures. Stark contrasts between the vibrant colors in the natural motifs portray a synthetic edge in his Metamorfose (2017) series. The artist fossilizes the ephemeral with the juxtaposition of rainbow gradients, pressed leaves, and stems. A similar dimension springs from the fossil-like materiality of Anderson Borba (Brazil, 1972). In Mata-Leão (Rear-Naked Choke) (2022), Borba sculpts wood, then burns, paints, presses, and manipulates materials such as paper and varnish into the composition.
Mauro Restiffe (Brazil, 1970) and Marina Rheingantz (Brazil, 1983) depict seascapes stripped of monumentality and imbued with atmospheric radiance. The analog grain in Restiffe’s 2020 (2020) situates an embracing couple in the foreground in a dreamlike, half-remembered scene. Likewise, the imagined landscape of Rheingantz’s Silver Lake (2023) creates a vaporous ambiance filled with thick layers of paint, whose forms may oscillate between rocks and smudged paint depending on the viewer’s perspective: a procedure translated into the rhythmic, curt marks of thread in her tapestry Balsa 1 (2017).
Vegetation becomes airborne in the artificial plants that emerge from the suspended straw pot of Haegue Yang’s (South Korea, 1971) The Intermediate - Antenna Basket on Rings (2017). The television antenna protruding amongst the plants presents a duality between the natural and the technological, the folk and the modern. Yet, the straw vase in the shape of elephant ears recalls the craftsmanship from the woven rattan Leonor Antunes (Portugal, 1972) encountered in Franca Helg’s family home in Galliate Lombardo, Varese, Italy, and then reimagined in the hanging Franca #2 (2018).
Antunes maps architectural details, while Wilfredo Prieto (Cuba, 1978) maps images and Abraham Cruzvillegas (Mexico City, 1968) maps psychogeographic landscapes. In Prieto’s Fake News series (2021) he interpreted the photographs from the national and international press through abstract applications of acrylic on canvas. In Otras rutas 13 (Other routes 13, 2023), Cruzvillegas engages his entire body as he uses a mop to paint lines that map pathways within a space we can only imagine. From the emptiness of the exposed canvases, the construction of space also forms in the work of the self-taught painter and writer Álvaro Lapa (Portugal, 1939–2006). The implication of space evokes a discarded note or a valley and the references to or inclusion of written words suggest ever-changing narrative paths.
If the works in act one offer diagrammatic patterns of the external world, then the works on view in act two look inward at our collective memories and unconscious thoughts. The second act opens on August 5 and proposes the natural world as something internal to us through representations of bodily forms and cognitive processes. The artists blend personal narratives with shared experiences, delving into how material can be reimagined to forge novel concepts around what it means to be embodied.
Márcia Falcão’s (Brazil, 1985) and Erika Verzutti’s (Brazil, 1971) allusions to female bodies incite dialogues about the construction of figures and the cultural references suggested through their shapes and silhouettes. In Ioga Psicológica (Psychological Yoga, 2023), Falcão’s fleshy limbs contort and mold themselves into strenuous positions to fit into confined rectangular interiors, while the spiral forms of Verzutti’s wall-based bronze relief cite the voluptuous form of Venus of Willendorf as much as prehistoric geoglyphs.
The symbolic potential of material properties are also seen in the multidisciplinary work of Damián Ortega (Mexico, 1967). Extracción 6 (2018) comprises individual pieces by positioning newly filled cement bags within a tubular container. As the pieces gradually dry and settle atop one another, they yield to the material’s inherent tendencies, organically negotiating their spatial arrangement. The mask of Vaquero (Cowboy), 2022 is made of found materials, such as cowhide and plastic, whereas his improvisational embroideries on canvas inspired by texts from poems and novels stem from textile traditions in Oaxaca. Adriana Varejão (Brazil, 1964) carries out a similar exploration through her engravings.The artist uses trompe l’oeil in her tiled environments to heighten the perceived depth of the surface. These haunting spaces evoke morgues and slaughterhouses as much as saunas, referencing a supposedly neutral, hygienic architectural typography that belies potentially violent functions.
Subtle hints of abstracted bodies continue in the work of Sofía Táboas (Mexico, 1968), Nairy Baghramian (Iran, 1971), and Ernesto Neto (Brazil, 1964). Táboas’s Delta (2022) is made of independent small canvases in the shape of triangles and rhomboids that she later arranges to produce a symmetrical composition that is balanced in form and color. In Baghramian’s Beliebte Stellen (Privileged Points), 2011- 2015, three steel rods are covered with layers of beige, yellow, and green textured paint that retains hardened drips. Their curved forms attract human touch, as if audiences should ascend the wall. Similarly, Neto’s sculptural installations beckon physical participation through their organic forms. The new site-specific installation Vó gravidade que nos une nesta terra! (Grandmother Gravity That Unites Us on This Earth!) (2023) comprises a crochet structure of counterweights hanging from the space’s rafters. A delicate balance is drawn between the stones in each of its three nests, rendering gravitational force an active part of the piece. The site-specificity of Bagrahamian’s and Neto’s sculptures encourage sensorial activation beyond the visible.
Lastly, the works of Sergej Jensen (Denmark, 1973) and Neto’s works on paper shift the audiences’ attention to organic representations of the body In Neto’s drawings from the 1990s, line and wax on paper outline bodily forms and coiled limbs. In Couple (2018), Jensen defies traditional materials in his application of UV printing, acrylic, and gold to sewn moneybags.
Act one focuses on works that relate to the natural world as something external, harnessing an abundance of forms and translating them into artistic devices that fuse the natural and the artificial. Through tactics of formal organization of organic and constructed space, systemic logic is applied to gardens, landscapes, and architecture Act two gathers works that deal with depictions of the body, from unconscious musings to mythical narratives. The artists here collapse multiple timescales into objects that bear the imprint of manual making and express natural rhythms and cycles.
Through a fusion of each gallery’s program, the exhibition is a testament to the combined energies of a dynamic selection of artists working today.