Beatriz Milhazes delves into the sculpture realm for the first time

(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

A painter par excellence, Beatriz Milhazes has recently come to investigate the possibilities and challenges of sculpture. The result of this process, initiated in 2010, can be seen in the show “Marola, Mariola and Marilola”, which opens this Saturday, May 20th, at Carpintaria, Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel’s space in Rio de Janeiro.

The exhibition presents three large tridimensional pieces which, whilst in harmony with her paintings, prints and collages, propose a new and riveting perceptive element. It’s as if her characteristic motifs, such as the circle, the flower and the arabesque, filled up the room, creating new connections amongst them that, depending on the viewer’s perspective, can make up a wholly different work. “This physical possibility represents an investigative area that painting does not offer”, explains Milhazes, who participated as a member of the Nominating Committee in PIPA Prize 2014 .

The three sculptures naming the show were conceived over five years of research – several life-size models were made – at Durham Press, a studio in Pennsylvania (US) where the artist has been developing her graphic production since 1996, concomitantly with her extensive work schedule and exhibitions. They are large pieces, ranging from 2.26 to 2.89 meters high, and interact differently with space, either by enhancing the body of the work (the circumvolutions from “Marola” create a denser body in space, with breadth and thickness almost coinciding), or acting as a divider, such as “Mariola”, which is less than half a meter thick, almost like a curtain. These pieces, albeit unknown in Brazil, have been displayed in galleries representing the artist in Paris and New York (James Cohan Gallery, NY, and Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris).

The titles, as it usually occurs in Milhazes’ works, are interesting reading keys. Not only do they promote the connection among the pieces, but they also reaffirm the importance of rhythm, sonority and a kind of Brazilian essence in her work. The first and largest of them, which according to the artist still presents a close connection with the concept of the mobile, refers to ripples on the sea, to the notion of a constant and seductive movement.

“Mariola”, a popular sweet from Northeast Brazil, also echoes the vernacular culture so appreciated by the artist, whereas “Marilola” plays with sonority, a playful word game, a procedure resembling the spatial game she creates from the association of different materials and colors. In the three pieces, the body is devised from a design in metal, acting as a support for the different elements. A logic similar to that of collage emerges from these works, logic that is clearly present in Milhazes’ paintings.

It all began with a stage setting Beatriz created for her sister’s (choreographer Márcia Milhazes) dance show in 2004. By designing a type of chandelier for the center stage, she abandoned the idea of working with panels, which had ruled her previous scenographic works, and took on a tridimensional challenge that would become increasingly sharp.

The first result from this plunge into space was the series “Gamboa” (part of the exhibition held in Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, four years ago), which the artist did not yet consider part of her sculptural world. “I do not believe “Gamboa” deals with volume, with the architectonic space, the physical”, she says. Another difference regarding the “Gamboa” experience is the material she used. While “Gamboa” poured over elements linked to Carnaval and other popular festivities, in her more recent sculptures, Milhazes deliberately intended to work with more resistant elements,  such as polished metals, acrylic and wood, transformed into support for pictorial interventions.

“I belong to the two-dimensional domain. My ideas and concepts are totally connected to the plane”, she says, explaining how difficult and thought-provoking this challenge was. “The greatest difficulty was to begin thinking in tri-dimensions”, she states. It was a process full of vicissitudes, in which she used her repertoire “to work vertically, to deepen myself in the tri-dimension”. “It was almost an adventure”, she concludes.

“Marola, Mariola and Marilola”, solo show by Beatriz Milhazes
On view from May 20th through July 15th, 2017
Opening: Saturday, May 20th, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

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