We are pleased to present Uma coisa linda [A Beautiful Thing], the new exhibition by Efrain Almeida at Galpăo Fortes Vilaça. For the first time, the artist has used bronze, instead of wood, as a raw material for his works. The exhibition features new sculptures and watercolors, along with a large installation that lends the show its title.
Efrain often returns to the arid backlands of Ceará, where he was born and grew up. On one occasion, he witnessed the landing of a large flock of red-cowled cardinals, a typical bird of that region, in the backyard of his parents’ house. The artist remembers that the birds “only land where they feel safe,” which enhances the beauty of this scene, evoked in the installation Uma coisa linda. Taking up the entire floor of the Galpăo’s exhibition space, one hundred polychrome bronze sculptures form a dense red, black and white mass; a closer look, however, reveals the singularity of each piece.
In this new body of work, the artist uses pieces sculpted from wood as molds for the casting of the bronze. This technique allows him to work with even more precise carvings while also preserving the fragile aspect that characterizes his oeuvre. This apparent fragility, however, stands in contrast to the intrinsic power of Efrain’s work, which expands beyond the tiny scale of the figures, appropriating the surrounding space. The new work Beija-flores (tesoura) [Hummingbirds (Scissors)], in which two sculptures are stuck into a large wall, contrasting smallness and largeness, operates in a similar way. Hanging from their beaks, the pieces crystallize the instant the hummingbird kisses the flower as well as the typical flitting scissorslike opening and closing of the tail of this hummingbird species; the wall supports the sculptures, but in a certain sense it is also supported by them.
In the diptych of watercolors Duas cabeças (autorretrato) [Two Heads (Self-Portrait)], in which the artist deals with memory, the reconstruction of the image itself is delineated by subjective aspects. This takes place in all of Efrain’s work which, despite constantly resorting to the observation of nature, does not seek to be a portrait of what is found there, but is rather the proclamation of this encounter – as observed by Marcelo Campos in the show’s curatorial text. His work refers to that which emanates from the material, and thus it becomes monumental.
Efrain Almeida was born in Boa Viagem, Ceará, in 1964, and currently lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. His most noteworthy exhibitions have included Marcas – a retrospective show concerning his work held in 2007 at Estaçăo Pinacoteca, in Săo Paulo – and his participation in the 2010 Bienal de Săo Paulo. His work figures in various public and private collections in Brazil and abroad, including those of MoMA (Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA), MAM-SP (Museu de Arte Moderna de Săo Paulo, Săo Paulo, Brazil), CGAC (Centro Galego de Arte Contemporânea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain) and Toyota Municipal Museum of Art (Toyota, Japan).