fruitmarket gallery // curator's talk

Edinburgh, much like Montreal, is full of cultural events. And with all this free time (I couldn't have chosen a less work-intensive institution for a semester abroad!), I try to attend as many shows, conferences and talks as I can.

Tonight, I walk out to the Fruitmarket Gallery, a contemporary art exhibition space located just by Waverley Station. It's actually not my first time at Fruitmarket - I'd gone once already back in January, where I saw series of photographic works by Stan Douglas. The exhibit I'm here to hear about today has just opened. Titled Possibilities of the Object - Experiments in Modern and Contemporary Brazilian Art, it features a dozen pieces by Brazilian artists from different decades of the 20th century.

Though I don't have much time before the talk begins, I do get to stroll around and glance at every work. My favorite is Artur Barrio's Nocturnos Transportável No.4 - a suspended sack containing a wooden crate. The latter is itself filled with baguettes, but one can only see them from a certain viewpoint.

The talk itself is a discussion between Art History Professor Briony Fer and exhibit curator Paulo Venancio Filho. Filho, a Brazilian native himself, explains the socio-economic and political context of the artworks, as well as the different influences that have inspired them. Unsurprisingly, the name Mondrian comes up as a major influence for those artists of the 1950's.

One of the most interesting things I learn is that there are few, if any, textbooks dedicated to Brazilian art history. Moreover, Filho seems to argue artists in Brazil have more awareness of the art going on abroad than in their own country - a rather sad premise.

Mira Schendel, Sem Titulo (Discos), 1972

Arthur Barrio, Nocturnos Transportável No.4

Arthur Barrio, Nocturnos Transportável No.4
Hélio Oiticica Relevo Espacial (Vermelho) REL 036 (Spatial Relief (red REL 036)