São Paulo

Sandra Tucci

It seems almost redundant to point out the relationship between Sandra Tucci’s recent work and Minimalism. The influence of Minimalism on contemporary Brazilian art is comparable only to the degree to which it has been reread and modified by local tradition. The resulting mix of cultural traditions produces work in which a sophisticated formal intelligence finds itself at the service of the immediacy of sensory experience. On this occasion, Tucci literally framed the space of the gallery with a structure made of L-shaped metallic modules of various sizes. Despite the constructive emphasis of the work, these pieces were not neutral, identical elements. On the contrary, each module accommodated, in the space defined by the intersection of walls, ceiling, and floor, a series of colorful elements of a decorative character: violently colored cocoons, straw, velvet, plush balls. This was a complex and delirious show of materials, colors, and textures ordered in a more or less random fashion and distributed throughout the structure that framed the gallery.

At first glance, the exhibition seemed to be an ironic statement about the achievements and intentions of the Minimalist esthetic. In fact, an apparent contradiction exists between the use of a Minimalist structure and the clear conceptual intention inherent in the act of framing the space of the gallery with a disordered proliferation of decorative motifs: the latter seemingly undermine the rigidity of the structure on which they depend. In this sense, there is an undeniable tension between the “white cube” in all the fragility of its historic and epistemological importance and the playful, light atmosphere created by the superficial proliferation of the decorative motifs. A corresponding tension exists between the tactile—the detailed precision, the theatrical variations of the surface—and the conceptual connotations of such a structure.

A contradiction of such magnitude should necessarily be translated into a forced fragmentation of the work, into the impossibility of considering it as a whole. Curiously, this does not happen and, on the contrary, the tensions in this work only succeed in making its unity more deeply felt. The emptiness that the structure defines is less a transcendental emptiness than a literal emptiness: the eye that seeks to reconcile the detail with the totality is absorbed into the pressured contemplation of a series of fragments that follow one after the other, immersed in the neutral speed of a glance unable to stop and obliged to abandon what it has barely captured. And it is through this broken contemplation that the viewer approaches the intention of the work: an experience of emptiness that is not idealized as a transcendent, liberating, and oppressive instant of subjectivity, but rather inflected with the contagious and constant bustle of the world.

Carlos Basualdo

Translated from the Spanish by Vincent T. Martin.