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Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil

01.02 – 20.04 / 2014
Wexner center for the arts, Colombus

The Portuguese word cruzamentos translates literally as “crossings” or “intersections,” but in Brazil it’s also a metaphor for the diverse cultural heritage that makes the country so distinct. In that spirit, Cruzamentos: Contemporary Art in Brazil explores the work of 35 contemporary Brazilian artists—many of whom have never been widely exhibited in the US—whose practices and influences are as varied as the social, racial, and geographical composition of the country itself. Filling our four galleries and occupying select public spaces as well, Cruzamentos offers an in-depth look at 30 years of artistic production since the fall of the country’s dictatorship in 1985 and is among the most ambitious exhibitions in the Wexner Center’s 25-year history.

Cruzamentos covers a full range of artistic practices—painting, installation, photography, sculpture, and moving image—and features several works that are being produced specifically for the exhibition. Contemporary artists in Brazil move freely and urgently among mediums, and Cruzamentos reflects that hybridity, as well as an equally distinctive, almost improvisatory impulse to repurpose nontraditional materials (often domestic objects put to unexpected but striking use). Featuring young and midcareer artists, the exhibition includes new work by Jonathas de Andrade, Gisele Camargo, José Damasceno, Jac Leirner, Vânia Mignone, Odires Mlászho, and Adriana Varejão, as well as a site-specific installation in our lobby by Lucia Koch.

Although a handful of postwar Brazilian artists have received recognition in North America (including Hélio Oiticica and Ernesto Neto, whose work has been exhibited at the Wex), the astonishingly high level of artistic production throughout Brazil over recent decades remains significantly overlooked beyond its borders. Between the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics, all eyes will be trained on this rapidly evolving country. Cruzamentos offers a timely, arts-inflected focus on its vibrant culture.

The exhibition was cocurated by the Wexner Center’s Curator at Large Bill Horrigan and Film/Video Studio Curator Jennifer Lange, along with Paulo Venâncio Filho, critic, curator, and professor at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. A free gallery guide with an essay by Lange accompanies the show, and a substantial catalogue featuring essays by all the curators and entries on the individual artists is scheduled for publication this spring.


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