Solo show with Antonio Obá presents histories of Brazilian literature, music, and painting

Antonio Obá presents his second solo exhibition in New York, Outras águas / Other waters’, at Mendes Wood DM New York. Comprising new paintings and bronze sculptures, Outras águas / Other waters intertwines a panorama of references across the histories of Brazilian literature, music, and painting, exploring shared histories and personal resonances that at once engage and reconstruct the worlds embedded within.

The point of departure for Outras águas / Other waters is the seminal writing of the Brazilian author and diplomat João Guimarães Rosa, in particular his short story “The Third Bank of the River” (1962). The story tells of a man who secludes himself from his family, his friends, and society to live in a canoe, sailing up and down a river in solitude. Guimarães Rosa explores this notion of solitude as a return to the self, defending the principle that the real encounter between a person and themselves happens within silence, in observation of nature, and in search for the unknown. This search is the premise of Obá’s exhibition.

The works make references across time and place, from the Brazilian Baroque through late twentieth-century Black American painting, to contemporary Brazilian popular music. These references, however, are freed from their roots and rendered universal to any observer—rather it is from the point of the universal unknown that Outras águas / Other waters draws upon. Throughout the exhibition, Obá revisits places and stories from his childhood, while also representing unknown figures and figments. His approach is both biographical and oneiric—dream and painting replace reality; memory acts as the central axis through which he re-designs his past.

Outras águas / Other waters’, with Antonio Obá
From November 16, 2022 to January 21, 2023

Mendes Wood DM New York
47 Walker Street, New York, USA


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