Rio de Janeiro

View of “Laercio Redondo,” 2015–16. Backdrop: Desvios (Detour) (detail), 2015. On screens: A casa de vidro (The Glass House), 1998/2008. Photo: Sergio Araujo.

View of “Laercio Redondo,” 2015–16. Backdrop: Desvios (Detour) (detail), 2015. On screens: A casa de vidro (The Glass House), 1998/2008. Photo: Sergio Araujo.

Laercio Redondo

View of “Laercio Redondo,” 2015–16. Backdrop: Desvios (Detour) (detail), 2015. On screens: A casa de vidro (The Glass House), 1998/2008. Photo: Sergio Araujo.

O que acaba todos os dias” (What Ends Every Day) is the first comprehensive museum exhibition dedicated to the Brazilian artist Laercio Redondo. The show, which travels to Dallas Contemporary in September, brings together works created between 1998 and 2015, all jam-packed with references to the history of art and architecture, both Brazilian and foreign. In Rio, the exhibition was framed by a pair of curtains, a blue-gray-yellow Neo-concrete geometric abstraction, made in collaboration with exhibition designer Birger Lipinski. Upon entering, the viewer encountered a slanted board, covered in gray carpet, below a fluorescent light next to a fern. This arrangement belongs to the artist’s most recent video installation, Desvios (Detour), 2015. Redondo’s images, accompanied by a text by Soraya Guimarães Hoepfner, present the story of the self-taught architect Lota de Macedo Soares, who designed Flamengo Park, the site of the Museu de Arte Moderna, in the 1950s. Soares was the lover and muse of the North American poet Elizabeth Bishop; the couple lived together about forty-five miles away from the museum, in the Casa Samambaia (Fern House) on the hills outside Rio. The black-and-white video projection of a drive along the route from the museum to the Fern house conveys Soares’s struggle to create simultaneously a public space for the citizens of Rio and a refuge outside the city for her same-sex relationship.

A casa de vidro (The Glass House), 1998/2008, is a double projection that revolves around Lina Bo Bardi’s iconic glass house in São Paulo. Redondo visited a few years after the architect’s death, and then returned to shoot more footage a decade later. During the first visit the artist still detected traces of habitation; the second visit conveys the sense of the architect’s absence and a process of institutionalized archiving. Following Redondo’s conceptual line that delineates the idiosyncrasies of the two female architects’ biographies via film, the narrator here brings Bo Bardi’s voice back and cites one of her famous quotes: “When you are born, you don’t choose anything, you are born by chance. I wasn’t born here, I chose to live in this place.”

A number of rather playful works pay homage to fellow artists. Produced in collaboration, with music by Alexandre Canonico, Retoque (Retouch), 2012, translates video shots of a tile mural in Brasilia, by the Brazilian painter and sculptor Athos Bulcão, into a visual sound composition. Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers), 1991, is tropicalized in Para Mirar Al Sur—After “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers), 2007, a series of coupled sundials made from sheets of paper, in which triangles have been cut. These are displayed on a table, and return in photographs showing them being held up to the light in various places, so that a shadow is cast to tell the time.

A work from Redondo’s “Fachada” (Façade) series, 2014, is titled Le Corbusier, 1936, 2014, and takes the form of bronze letters applied to the museum’s glass façade. The quote reads NA VERDADE, A CIDADE DO RIO NÃO EXISTE AINDA (In fact, the city of Rio de Janeiro does not exist yet) and possibly stems from the architect’s second visit to the city, in 1936. It reflects Le Corbusier’s disappointment with Rio, which he then considered a backwater. Looking through the window toward the airport and the many construction projects, such as Santiago Calatrava’s imposing building for the controversial Museu do Amanhã (Museum of Tomorrow), one wishes Corbu could return for another look.

Tobi Maier