“Espirito Santo, who has exhibited consistently since the mid 1980s, has established an aesthetic that reflects his conceptual concerns by means of an obsessive attention to detail in sculptures, drawings, and wall paintings that recurrently explore form, light and spatial folds with an impeccable craftsmanship and a discerning choice in materials…. At the core of the Brazilian artist’s work is an interest in that he describes as the ‘the duality we live in; between the concrete world and that of ideas. It’s an existential human condition; the artworks are a way of negotiating this, a need to deal with immateriality’.” – Camila Belchior. Art Forum, 2011.
Alison Jacques Gallery is delighted to present our first solo exhibition of Brazilian artist Iran do Espírito Santo (born 1963, lives and works in Sao Paulo). Espírito Santo is one of Brazil’s most highly regarded contemporary artists known for his austere yet sensuous drawings, wall paintings, and sculptures.
Light has been a subject of many of Espírito Santo’s works and is clearly a focus for Axis, the hand-painted large site-specific wall installation that transforms the main space of the gallery. Employing fifty-six shades of grey paint, precise gradations create the illusion of kaleidoscopic light beams, which meet at a centre point, allowing the gallery wall to become both the support for the painting and part of the artwork. In the gallery side space is a sculptural installation entitled Nine Bulbs in which nine evenly spaced stainless steel sculptures are installed in a row. Resembling a light bulb through form and a knob through presentation, the artist displays an affinity for the readymade while deconstructing our perception of every day objects, capturing the exact moment at which an object becomes something we recognize.
Also included in the exhibition are recent sculptures such as Dome and Dropping Bottle. The crystal sculpture Dome was modelled on the shape of a clock dome, yet in inverse fashion Espírito Santo substitutes the hollow glass with solid crystal, altering what began as a functional covering into a precious, minimalist form. Light that was once contained within the glass is now reflected within the material. In contrast, the jet black Italian granite of which the large Dropping Bottle is composed absorbs light, allowing the flawless smooth surface to become even more apparent. Although we equate the bottle shape with that of function, the enlarged scale and precious material asks us to reconsider its curves and indentation of a utilitarian vessel as those of a minimal form. Espírito Santo presents us with a representation of a representation, developing our sensitivity to the objects that surround us, and the space we inhabit.
Iran Do Santo Espirito recently exhibited Playground, a site specific concrete installation in Central Park, New York realised by the Public Art Fund. Recent exhibitions include: Order, Chaos, and the Space Between, Contemporary Latin American Art from the Diane and Bruce Halle Collection, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix (2013), Silence & Time, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas (2011) and El Gabinete Blanco, Fundacion Jumex, Mexico City (2010). Iran Do Santo Espirito’s work is included in many major museum collections including: MOMA, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; SFMOMA, San Francisco; the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego and Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.