Critics’ Picks

Jonathas de Andrade, Nostalgia, A Class Sentiment (detail), 2012, mixed media, dimensions variable.

Jonathas de Andrade, Nostalgia, A Class Sentiment (detail), 2012, mixed media, dimensions variable.

São Paulo

“Imagine Brazil”

Instituto Tomie Ohtake
Av Brigadeiro Faria Lima 201 (entrance at Rua Coropes) - Pinheiros
March 13–May 3, 2015

“Imagine Brazil” evokes a country long construed (and misread) via the superficial perspectives of other nations. But scholar Benedict Anderson’s notion of imagined communities as permanent social constructions is very relevant, too, as is anthropologist Arjun Appadurai’s view of imagination as a “a key component of the new global order.” Featuring fourteen emerging artists, the show, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Gunnar B. Kvaran, and Thierry Raspail, also includes works from more established names that have been chosen by each young artist as an attempt to contextualize their production in a historical perspective.

The conflict between public and private spaces is a pertinent topic throughout, and informs the first work viewers encounter: Berimbau Turnstile, 2014, by Rodrigo Matheus. Combining the berimbau (a Brazilian percussion instrument) with a turnstile, a common element in a country where space has always been constrained by private interests, the piece appears alongside four other works by Matheus, most of whose materials reference construction and architecture. But the work that best captures the spirit of the exhibition is Jonathas de Andrade’s Nostalgia, a Class Sentiment, 2012. The text-and-image installation is reminiscent of the mosaic tiling found in a tropical modernist house. Its writing seems to be some sort of manifesto, but is ultimately almost unreadable; in place of the sentences’ key words are thick geometric fiberglass shapes affixed to the wall. Addressing notions of memory and gaps in history that compromise an understanding of the present, de Andrade’s work—via hidden words and interrupted discourse—also suggests an interesting association between images and the imaginary.