(this page was last updated in July 2018)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1982.
Lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
PIPA Prize 2018 nominee.
Alvaro Seixas holds a PhD in Visual Languages from UFRJ. The artist is also a professor in the Department of Drawing at the School of Fine Arts, UFRJ. His most recent work explores drawing and figuration, often appropriating pop culture figures. These works, charged with an acid humor, criticize and make a provocation to the art system and its mechanisms of power and status. Throughout his career, the artist has also developed works that explore abstraction in painting and how this language relates to the current artistic-cultural landscape.
Video produced by Do Rio Filmes exclusively for PIPA Prize 2018:
“The artist as an imposter”
By Felipe Scovino, 2012
[Text written on the occasion of “Keep Dripping,” solo exhibition by Alvaro Seixas at The Mercedes Viegas Contemporary Art Gallery, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil]
Alvaro Seixas frankly approaches the problem: most of his canvases are indicative of a place, of a reference that lies between Suprematism, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism and Post-Minimalism. Also, since they are (basically) self-referent, these canvases place the spectator facing a meaning. Therefore, it is impossible, in front of one of Seixas’s canvases, not to experiment with this reflex: we try to find an analogy, as a legend for a work is incessantly sought after by visitors to a museum while contemplating a painting. However, we seek and, evidently, we find “errors,” “lack of adjustments” in relation to the original. Here is the original, or at least – here the production of Seixas begins — what we find — that the canvas and the revelation of an incessant enigma — are ambiguous: between the false Malevitshes, Blinky Palermos that represent “nothing,” filled with a kind of vagueness. We are dislocated to a different logic: although it can take on the quality of “imposter,” the canvas has an end: what happens in it conforms to a definite finality. His work cannot be judged by the first look because it is not about imitation, nor about inspiration.
Passing through this instance between the original and the copy, the work seeks an autonomy that ends up re the re-codifying the real one; that is, while it sets itself up as a false ghost, and, just after that, goes beyond that idea, we perceive an investigative method taking place, a careful preparation for the work, its oil layers and elaborate veils of paint. His canvas is not a reproduction or is not trying to make the spectator believe an incredible (and false) illusion of ease. His work coincides exactly with its appearance; that is, a series of works or image-filled dispensers that are clearly recognizable or recognized by the history of art. However, it is necessary to dare to affirm that they are common, banal works. On the other hand—and here is another quality–the appearance does not coincide with a language that is dislocated from its place, because it is made with watercolor paint. It is a work permeated with errors, imperfections and falsities that are discovered in a second look of appreciation, removed to a territory of autonomy in relation to the “matrix.” We start to analyze the work as any common painting—in the best sense that this expression can have–and, at this moment the relationship of approximation and dialog with the history of painting gains new turns and pathways.
This succession of “errors,” when put side by side, end up creating an abject condition to the works and to the territory of the gallery. The works stop dialoging among themselves—a special condition of curating—or then this dialog is done in the form of a contamination that is filled by a noise, by a kind of dirtiness. There is an atmosphere of disharmony and paradox being presented: work near the floor, or in distant corners, lesser works being “swallowed” by bigger ones, clashes between colors, shapes and scales just like the title of the exposition itself (Keep Dripping). This is more a moment of the supposed permanence that his work possesses and of its parting from the fragile idea of being named an imposter. Or better, this condition slowly transforms into a quality filled with cynicism and corrosive put down. His work becomes an infiltrating caustic agent, filled with questioning and a creative element of its own kind.
“A strange look, a to be in the look”
By Marcus de Lontra Costa, 2008
[Critical text written on the occasion of a solo exhibition by Alvaro Seixas, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil]
For modern art, the image of painting is an instrument of Truth. For contemporary art, the truth does not matter—the image of painting is a ghost of its own reality, ambiguous space where the real and the virtual meet and feel strange.
It is exactly this strange space, this no where, this non-concretization of physical space of action (and of representation…) that gives contemporary art its reason to be in this world, which is changing and undefined, with shapes and volumes, myths and realities, abstractions and concreteness, solids, liquids and gasses of the same material, with an intangible body. And painting survives this reality which is contrary to its essence, thanks to its incredible capacity to pretend, to represent, to elaborate discourse that refutes its redeeming role of an agent that transforms the world through a dive into its own insides in order to affirm itself as a poetic element of a projected world by way of images of its ghosts.
“The poet is a pretender/Fake so completely/ That he even fakes that pain/ The pain he should feel” (1). As Fernando Pessoa, the contemporary artist sublimates the horror through humor and elaborates a discourse full of irony, by way of conceptual antithesis and by the blunt refusal of an ethical discourse that today gives its place to the pragmatism of the present times.
That discourse of a world idealized by Modernism has been torn apart by a technological reality and by its useless ways of contact and communication. The artist, today, acts as a blend of this fragmented reality, residue of opaque material, broken glass, paintings and photography. In this great “garbage heap” everything is found, everything is mixed. That is why, for the contemporary artist, it is indifferent to work with images constructed on a canvas, printed on photograph paper or projected on a mirror. They are all there, and tired of being sleepwalkers in a museum, wandering through the streets of a city, through the four corners of the world, through reminders, memories, past and present, that are found in this strange equation of a new and admirable world without a future.
The work of the young artist, Alvaro Seixas, brings out some of these questions. Painting, drawing, photography–essentials of the plan–brings a flagrant compromise with the recent history of art. Their production immediately establishes an association with the vanguard tradition of Modernism, in dialog with informal abstraction and with a constructive synthesis. To them the artist adds a graphic link remembering pop art and it is through this selection that Alvaro composes the basis of his formal repertoire. If the instruments of his artistic acts are, essentially remembrances of recent history, the irony and a type of “bad feeling” that his work contains are characteristic of contemporary thinking. The formal elements are not structured as agents of modernist Truth. On the contrary, they are objects of a strange feeling, without clear definition, or going beyond their own outlines by the rigid limits of their supports. This tension between formal elements and the locale of artistic action provokes an intelligent and curious visual equation that the artist knows how to explore.
All the work of a young artist necessarily brings his/her present, the real and visible fact, the “Work,” and also brings, inevitably, the projection of his/her future, of his/her devenir, of his/her projection in future time. Alvaro Seixas finds himself at the beginning of the road, the start of a pathway. There is in him a restlessness desired by real artists. We should still believe that in the middle of the unsettled murmuring of the world where we live, art can still be a powerful instrument od transformation of the real, giving value to what human beings have of essence and value: the capacity to create, as the young artist, Alvaro Seixas, a language based on the intelligence and sensibility of experimentation in the world.
1. Autopsicografia, Fernando Pessoa
– D.A. in Visual Languages at UFRJ – Federal University of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– M.A. in Visual Languages at UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– B.A in Painting at UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2015 – present
– Professor at the School of Fine Arts – Federal University of Brazil , Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
2009 – 2015
– Professor at the School of Design of Veiga de AlmeidaUniversity, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Selected Solo Exhibitions
– “Muito Romântico Tour”, Cavalo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “O coxo, o sádico e o poeta”, Roberto Alban Galeria, Salvador, Brazil
– “Alvaro Seixas: O Artista que queria ser Rei”, DotART Galeria de Arte, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– “Paintbrush”, Mercedes Viegas Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Alvaro Seixas no projeto Technô, Oi Futuro Flamengo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Keep Dripping”, Mercedes Viegas Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Alvaro Seixas”, Amarelonegro Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Alvaro Seixas”, Galeria Amarelonegro Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Alvaro Seixas”, Galeria de Arte SESC, Niterói, Brazil
Selected Group Exhibitions
– “Jardim das delícia com juízo final”, curated by Pedro Caetano, Cavalo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Palavra”, curated by Omar Salomão, Galeria Oriente, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Pés no chão, cabeça nas nuvens”, DotART Galeria de Arte, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– “PINTURA (Diálogo de artistas)”, Caixa Cultural, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “A Luz que vela a corpo é a mesma que revela a tela”, curated by Bruno Miguel, Caixa Cultural, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Mundos Reinventados (Let us just call it abstract)”, curated by Bob N., C Galeria, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “The Unique Institutional Critique Pop-Up Boutique”, Cavalo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Um desassossego”, Galeria Estação, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Pequenas Pinturas”, curated by Ricardo Kugelmas and Bruno Dunley, Auroras, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Alvaro Seixas, Jhafis Quintero e Roberto Freitas”, curated by Wilson Lázaro, Casa DotART, Belo Horizonte, Brazil
– “Exposição Inaugural”, Cavalo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Mensagens de Uma Nova América”, 10ª Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Alegre, Brazil
– “V Edição do Prêmio Marcantonio Vilaça para as Artes Plásticas”, MAC-USP, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Ornamentos”, curated by Felipe Scovino, A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Coletiva 12”, Mercedes Viegas Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Palácio: Alvaro Seixas, Hugo Houayek, Rafael Alonso – Prêmio Projéteis Funarte de Arte Contemporânea, Palácio Gustavo Capanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
– “Coletiva 11”, Galeria Mercedes Viegas Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “(Des)equilíbrios e (Im)perfeições”, curated by Marcus Lontra, Galeria Coleção de Arte, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Pintura Ampliada: Alvaro Seixas, Hugo Houayek e Rafael Alonso”, curated by Felipe Scovino, Centro Cultural Banco do Nordeste, Fortaleza, Brazil
– “Pintura Reprojetada”, curated by Marcus Lontra, Espaço Cultural Marcantonio Vilaça do TCU, Brasília, Brazil
– “Além do Horizonte”, curated by Daniela Name, Amarelonegro Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Alvaro Seixas/Rafael Alonso, Atelier Subterrânea, Porto Alegre, Brazil
– “Mirantes – Rumos Itaú Cultural”, curated by Alexandre Sequeira, Galeria Juvenal Antunes, Rio Branco, Brazil
– “Rumos Itaú Cultural 2008-2009 – Trilhas do Desejo”, curated by Paulo Sérgio Duarte, Instituto Itaú Cultural, São Paulo e Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Janelas para o Mundo”, curated by Marisa Flórido Cesar, Casa das Onze Janelas, Belém, Brazil
– “Arte pela Amazônia”, Fundação Bienal, São Paulo, Brazil
– “Velatura Sólida”, curated by Felipe Barbosa, Amarelonegro Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Imaginário Periférico: Migrações”, Galeria da Usina Cultural CENF, Nova Friburgo
– “Imaginário Periférico: Migrações”, Galerias de Arte do SESC,Teresópolis, Niterói, Nova Iguaçu and Barra Mansa, Brazil
– “Imaginário Periférico, Galeria 90”, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Alvaro Seixas, Hugo Houayek, Rafael Alonso, Espaço Bananeiras, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– “Assentamento”, Centro Cultural Paschoal Carlos Magno, Niterói, Brazil
– “Fraenkelstein Salon London – Project 142”, London, UK
– “Diálogos plurais”, Centro de Artes Calouste Gulbenkian, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– I Salão de Arte Internacional laisle.com, Fundación Gugg und Chaim, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Coletiva, Galeria da Universidade Salgado de Oliveira, Niterói, Brazil
– Seixas, Alvaro. Mind the Artist. Holanda: Basboek Publishers, 2017
– Seixas, Alvaro; Houayek, Hugo; Alonso, Rafael. Palácio. Rio de Janeiro: Apicuri, 2013.
– Seixas, Alvaro. Sobre o Vago: Indefinições na Produção Artística Contemporânea. Rio de Janeiro: Apicuri, 2011.
– Seixas, Alvaro; Lontra Costa, Marcus. Pintura Reprojetada. Catálogo da exposição . Brasília: Tribunal de Contas da União, 2011.
– Duarte, Paulo Sérgio. Trilhas do Desejo: a arte visual brasileira. Catálogo da exposição. São Paulo: Senac, 2009.
– Prêmio Projéteis Funarte de Arte Contemporânea 2012 – Rio de Janeiro. For the project of “Palácio” exhibition, conceived with Hugo Houayek and Rafael Alonso
– Rumos Itaú Cultural 2008-2009, curated by Alexandre Sequeira, Christine Mello, Marília Panitz and Paulo Reis coordinated by Paulo Sérgio Duarte
– Prêmio SIM Artes Visuais, exhibition of “Janelas para o Mundo”, Casa das Onze Janelas, Belém, curated by Marisa Flórido Cesar
Public and Private Collections
– The Alex Katz Foundation, USA
– Museu de Arte do Rio de Janeiro (MAR), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
– Coleção Diógenes Paixão, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- More video-interviews with the PIPA Prize 2018 participating artists
- See the pages of ten PIPA Prize 2018 nominees
- Meet the 78 nominees of PIPA Prize 2018
- PIPA Prize 2018 Nominees | 2nd Bulletin
- Jacaranda opens group show "Sorria!" this Saturday, at Villa Aymoré