‘Secret Forest’ (series), Upper Austria, 2011
photographic print on cotton paper | 110 x 165 cm
photo: Pablo Vilar, courtesy Zipper Galeria, São Paulo
The Embassy of Brazil in London, in collaboration with Zipper Galeria, proudly presents ‘Estela Sokol: Secret Forest’. The show, which is the first solo presentation of the artist’s work in the UK, includes a selection of recent sculptures and installations, as well as a series of previously unseen photographs. Estela Sokol: Secret Forest | 10 June – 15 July 2011.
Part of a generation of up-and-coming artists working in São Paulo today, Estela Sokol works on the expansion of the traditional idea of the work of art as the container of colour and form – in Sokol’s work, the environment around the work of art is also charged with colour and energy, through the artist’s use of materials and manipulation of scale. According to the artist, ‘problems appear and are solved in the very act of making things’. There is no inspiration from any mysterious source, there is no creative force detached from the direct manipulation of materials, colour and light. The idea is, therefore, not simply attached to the work but is born out of it, it buds from the construction of form.
‘Ofélias’ (Ophelias), 2010 | PVC, Plexiglas | 150 x 500 x 64 cm
photo: Pablo Vilar, courtesy Zipper Galeria, São Paulo
Aesthetically, Estela Sokol belongs to a tradition of constructivism that flourished in Brazil at the end of 1950’s, in the ‘Objetos Ativos’ (active objects) and ‘Pluriobjetos’ (pluriobjects) by Willys de Castro, in the ‘Superfícies Moduladas’ (modulated surfaces) by Lygia Clark and in the research into colour pursued by Hélio Oiticica in his ‘Invenções’ (inventions), ‘Relevos Espaciais’ (spacial reliefs), ‘Bilaterais’ (bilaterals) and ‘Núcleos’ (nuclei). Coloured, semi-translucent plastics in fluoridated colours innovate the palette of Brazilian constructivism, enveloping small stretchers and overlaying fields of fluctuating colour, reminding us of the interplay between frame and surface in the work of Lygia Clark. Sokol’s series A cor é que tem cor nas asas da borboleta (It is colour that has colour on the wings of the butterfly), also included in this exhibition, is made of such objects, often no larger than15 centimetres in their largest dimension; these might even be confused with studies for larger pieces. They are, however, normally bundled in a flock covering a large wall alongside small engravings, numerous variations in the use of acrylic and plastic pieces coated with a layer of black automotive rubber, removing the possibility of shine and allowing for further research into the interaction between the colour-pigment and the colour-light.
The reduced dimensions of these objects, presented in the exhibition in great number, additionally suggest a notion of ‘lesser art’, of handicraft, whilst the repetition of the objects, that differ from each other in minute details, combined with the use of materials such as plastic, acrylic, synthetic varnish and automotive rubber coating reminds us of industrial processes. The synthesis of industrialisation, handicraft and visual arts clamours for a reading linked to Bauhaus. These objects invoke famous images of constructive art, and the way in which they are installed creates a simulation of the artist’s own studio in São Paulo, an experimental laboratory in light-colour lined with pieces that leave traces of colour on the white walls.
partial view of the artist’s studio, São Paulo, May 2011
photo: Pablo Vilar, courtesy the artist
In the exhibition are also a series of acrylic and PVC objects that create large bulging shapes that appear to come off the wall: Ofélias (Ophelias) – serialised and juxtaposed, they create a grey tunnel from which fluorescent green shines as neon light. However, it is pure colour-light pulsating in a time tunnel that transports us to other constructivist experiences. The show also includes a series of works that result from Sokol’s recent 40-day long expedition to Upper Austria, awarded through the Brasil Arte Contemporânea programme (Ministério da Cultura and Fundação Bienal de São Paulo). During her visit, Sokol captured, in photographs, traces of prosaic objects that appear to imbue the white Austrian snow with intense colour, such as in the Secret Forest series, which gives name to the exhibition. This first attempt to implant colour into a natural landscape has also resulted in the works of the series Polarlicht and Making of or Not, both of which are also included in the exhibition.
Estela Sokol was born in 1979 in São Paulo, where she lives and works. In 2002, she graduated in Printmaking from Centro Universitário Belas Artes, São Paulo.
Recent solo exhibitions include Licht Konkret, Galerie Wuensch, Linz, Austria (2011); Clarabóia, Paço das Artes, São Paulo, Brazil (2010); Dawn for Interiors, Bisagra Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2010); Sol de Inverno, Palácio das Artes, Belo
Horizonte, Brazil (2008); Halo, Galeria Virgílio, São Paulo, Brazil (2007); Meio Dia e Meia, Centro Universitário Maria Antonia, São Paulo, Brazil (2006); Lastro, Centro Cultural São Paulo, Brazil, (2003). Future solo exhibitions include Polarlicht, Bisagra Arte Contemporáneo, Buenos Aires, Argentina (2011) and A Morte das Ofélias, Galeria Anita Schwartz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2011), as well as a participation in the III Bienal del Fin del Mundo, Ushuaia, Argentina (2011).
Selected group exhibitions: Light Art Bienalle, Linz, Austria (2010); Silêncio, Zipper Galeria, São Paulo, Brazil (2010); Trajetórias em Processo, Galeria Anita Schwartz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2009); Nova Arte Nova, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil (2009).
Awards: Brasil Arte Contemporânea, Fundação Bienal São Paulo, Brazil (2010); Temporada de Projetos Paço das Artes, São Paulo, Brazil (2009); Edital Revelação MACC, São Paulo, Brazil (2004); Projéteis FUNARTE de Arte Contemporânea, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2005) and 34° Salão de Arte Contemporânea Luiz Sacilotto, São Paulo, Brazil (2006).
Tuesday to Friday (11am – 6pm)
Saturday (11am – 5pm)
*Please note that exceptionally for our current exhibition the gallery will be open from Monday to Friday, 11am – 6pm. Closed on bank holidays.