Critics’ Picks

View of “Nelson Felix,” 2015.

São Paulo

Nelson Felix

Pinacoteca do Estado / Estação Pinacoteca
Praça da Luz, 2
April 18–July 19

Most of the works in Nelson Felix’s first retrospective exist on a continuum, as if they had no ends or beginnings. Some of the series took more than a decade to complete; others seem they will never be entirely. Gathering fifteen pieces including sculptures, drawings, and installations as well as nine videos documenting his ambitious site-specific works, the survey, curated by Rodrigo Naves, smartly avoids a chronological approach, letting a notion of temporal fluidityinform the very structure of the show.

An artist who combines different kinds of materials that eventually will be affected by their interaction, Felix has always been interested in depicting the passing of time. This is revealed in the video documenting his “Genesis Series” (1985–2014), in which he inserted diamonds and gold into living organisms, such as a dog or a tree, and then waited until they assimilated the materials. Or in the marble spheres, spiked through with metal pins and abandoned in a specific location of the northeastern Brazilian coast until transformed by oxidation (Void Heart Coast, 1999–2004). This and other works seem reminiscent of Land art experiments by artists such as David Nash.

For an artist whose output deserves more attention than it has recently received,
probably due the difficulties of displaying his large-scale works, the survey’s merit is that it shows somefor the first time, or after years without being displayed, such as his crucial installation of bronze, wood, and olive oil, A Kiss for Magdalene, 1998.