Mendes Wood DM is pleased to announce the publication of Solange Pessoa's first-ever monograph. Dedicated to Pessoa's entire career, which spans over three decades and comprises sculpture, installation, painting, drawing, and video, the publication was conceived and produced in conjunction with the artist's first institutional solo show in the United States, Longilonge, at Ballroom Marfa, and her first solo gallery show in Europe, In the Sun and the Shade, currently on view at Mendes Wood DM, Brussels.
Pessoa's exhibition at Ballroom Marfa brings together five distinct bodies of work, including new works that respond specifically to the cultural and natural landscape in West Texas, as well as existing pieces made in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The convergence of these bodies of works creates a connective tissue of imagery, ideas, and relationships between two distant places in North and South America.
The exhibition at Mendes Wood DM Brussels focuses on duality – a recurrent trope in Pessoa's œuvre, which inextricably connects her long-standing practice to the Brazilian Baroque tradition. These dualistic qualities are particularly felt through the artist's material investigation; the combination of sensual materials such as hair, moss, and fruit combined with the firmness of the bronze and ceramic surfaces bring to the fore an aesthetic of contrasts, creating a harmonious environment of antinomic relations.
Edited by art-historian and Curatorial Associate at Princeton University, Alex Bacon, this first major survey of Pessoa's lengthy career includes texts by the British/Venezuelan art-historian Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, and the professor of literature Eduardo Jorge, as well as an extensive interview between Pessoa and Liza Munsell, the curator at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. These texts are complemented by a selection of images that have never been published before, many of which were retrieved from Pessoa's personal archive.
Born and currently living in Minas Gerais, a state located in the center of Brazil, Solange Pessoa has been working actively as an artist since the late 1980s. As Cecilia Fajardo-Hill notes in her text Solange Pessoa: Situation-Body-Language: [Pessoa's] "art, though in dialogue with key moments in the cultural history of Brazil, stands intensely alone: in its singular dialogical embodiment of dark and light; the scatological and the sublime; the ancient and the contemporary; the feminine and the masculine."
Pessoa's practice has been informed by a plethora of references including the Brazilian movement known as Antropofagia, the Baroque, Tropicália, Land Art, Arte Povera as well as popular, Indigenous and Black culture. A notable influence, however, is the cultural and ecological context of her native, Minas Gerais. As Pessoa explains in her interview with Liz Munsell:
"It [Minas Gerais] informs my work in multiple ways. There are residues from a variety of geological, geographic, historical and cultural events and phenomena that translate into a unique way of being in the world and its singularities. There have been seas, megafaunas, araucarias and emeralds around here. It is a remarkable place. The experience of colonial and modern architecture is fundamental, as well as their constant presence and coexistence with space and the feeling of it. This robust and familiar architecture applies pressure of visual thought, on the landscape and on the things that originate from it – all the mineral, fossil, nautical and sculptural memories. The acute verticality – savannas, the abundant microcosms, the faraway archaeologies; embody complex materialities and spatialities, translating their perception into installations, sculptures, drawings, and videos, etc."
This monograph was published by Circle Books and Editora Cobogó. The book was collaboratively supported by Mendes Wood DM and Blum and Poe and is distributed by D.A.P, New York.