Opening | “Chão”, solo show by Alexandre Brandão

(São Paulo, Brazil)

Leme Gallery holds until September the new solo show by Alexandre Brandão, “Chão” [“Floor”], the second by the artist on the gallery. Brandão presents a new series of works, continuing his exploration and fascination with the phenomenology of raw materials and their almost alchemical transmutation.

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If, in earlier works, Alexandre Brandão studied the elusive nature of light and the sculptural capabilities of materials such as sugar, stone, ink and charcoal. In “Chão” he deepens his direct rapport with the raw materials that come, literally or conceptually, from the ground/earth.

Through an empirical approach and the use of trial-and-error processes, the artist progressively reached a technical dominion over these materials. Flirting with tools and methods from an artisan production (sensitive to the transformation of matter, its drying times and changes in consistency and color) Alexandre Brandão develops a practice that often gets close to a proto-science, combining utopia, physical and chemical processes with a strong empiricism and intuition.

The refusal of the methodical rationalism of scientific processes has a visible reverberation in the predominant forms features in the exhibition. In which prevail rounded and sinuous forms, with imperfections that comes from the artist’s very hands. Human traces imprinted through techniques and practices that connect themselves to a memory that took refuge in gestures and habits, in skills passed by unspoken traditions and in a self-knowledge inherent to the body.

But the artist does not stop in the transformation of raw materials into sculptural objects. The exercise elaborated by Alexandre Brandão questions the very nature of matter, decomposing it and then giving it a new identity, a second-nature. His starting point is what many consider the final object. Instead of beginning with clay and mix it with water, the artist starts from the brick, destroying it and then reordering its remains to give them a new identity. He also starts from the glass, only to withdraw its fundamental characteristic, transparency, reconfiguring it with an opaque skin made of glazing putty, where the traces of his fingers are engraved.

Alexandre replicates, to the scale of his hands, a cyclical process that departs from a rational order, moving towards a temporary disorder, and culminating in a reorganization and reconfiguration of the matter.

During this process of cyclic redundancy, energy expenditure and manual work, the craftsman/homo-faber suddenly turns into an artist/homo-ludens, creating crossbred artifacts, which both speak of their own construction and disappearance.

These objects and devices, despite, sharing with us the same physical universe, bear within themselves an extremely volatile and unstable appearance of a draft. They are elements that are not enclosed in their forms, but point to something beyond them. Objects in a “vague state,” that move between a lost functionality and a re-functionalization that momentarily escapes our comprehension.

Their understanding requires the suspension of our beliefs and theories, an attitude that is contrary to the preformatted knowledge of the things in the world. Thinking is not only apprehending reality through reason, but also reflecting about the perceptive universe that appears to our senses. It is in this sense, a return to the Ground, to the origin. Back to a horizontal plan of timeless knowledge that unites us without differences and exclusions.

“Chão”, solo show by Alexandre Brandão
Opening: 13th August, at 7pm
On view through 26th September

Galeria Leme
Av. Valdemar Ferreira, 130
Working hours: Tuesday to Friday, from 10am to 7pm; Saturday, from 10am to 5pm
T: 55 11 3093.8184

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