Sunday, 11 December 2016

Maria Nepomuceno and the Carioca positivity.

I've spent one day in Brazil so I have very little knowledge of that vast country. Therefore I'm highly susceptible to clichés of sun, sand, and samba. Obviously the true picture is far more complicated than that but I hope, and expect, that there is still some room for these things. They're all so positive.

Maria Nepomuceno was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1976 and her organic and curious artworks certainly make use of the generous colour I'd imagine from the country. There's a display of them on at the Victoria Miro's Mayfair branch at the moment. It's titled Sim. The Portuguese word for Yes. More positivity

Her mostly untitled works lovingly created from ropes, beads, ceramics, and braided straw aren't representative of anything specific yet they don't appear to be entirely abstract. It's as if they're alluding to something, provoking an emotion, or signifying some kind of inner feeling that'd be difficult to express in words.

These could almost be animals, mythical beasts conjured up in the depths of our imagination. They're curvy too and exuding a sexuality that can either be comforting or frightening. The wood piercing the ceramic spiral is one of her more blatant metaphors rendering the act of sex raw and exposed. The fibreglass and resin balls surely represent a softer side.

It's said she 'pushes ancient traditions and complex craft techniques into a wholly contemporary engagement with space and structure, form, and concept'. That's got a whiff of the press release about it and for one very good reason - it's from the press release. For once though I think there's something in it and I could happily spend more time with these intimate and delightful pieces. I don't think they'd ever give up their mystery and I'd be quite happy with that. If William Blake can see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower then I can at least marvel at the infinite possibilities Nepomuceno has presented to us.

Nepomuceno is interested in failure as a source of fruitful opportunity. As someone who's just failed in quite an important life goal I'm interested in, and feeling that, too. Creating art from junk. Turning the base metals of one's life into solid gold. Shovelling through a stable full of shit to find the pony.

She creates intentional cracks and fissures in her work to represent her positive feelings on this. Though it'd be hard to deny there isn't something highly sexually charged about them too. In a gently erotic, rather than crude, way.

There's another room in this worthwhile, and free, exhibition and the second contains the works that don't quite fit into the whole vibe of the first. To this end there's a Christmas tree that manages to be both romantic and modern situated amongst figurative paintings of gauchos, campsites, and skylines. They're rendered in vibrant and arresting hues and they, too, are a joy to behold.

Did I enjoy it?

Do I still want to visit Brazil?

Sim. Sim.

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