Renato Bezerra de Mello, ‘Concertina Casinhas’, 2010
For his first exhibition in the UK the Brazilian artist Renato Bezerra de Mello has created a child’s universe – a meditation on the early interests and experiences that provide the framework for an adult’s life. His works are often autobiographical in nature, featuring collections of personally significant artefacts. In past works he has presented collections of self-addressed postcards, collectively forming a daily journal of his activities, as well as old family photographs.
17 – 18 Great Sutton Street
London EC1V 0DN
While the scenario he presents in the Project Space is fictional, it has a clear autobiographical dimension: The glass marbles he collected as a child are represented by balls of coloured chalk scattered across the floor – a childhood game expressed in the materials of his later artistic practice. The layered, delicate images of flowers reproduce the motifs printed on a tablecloth that was used for childhood lunches with his siblings. He comments: ‘I used to draw flowers as a child but, being a boy, I showed them to no-one.’
The exhibition also includes a concertina-folded series of drawings in which he depicts the kinds of little houses we recognise from fairytales and fables. Returning us to narratives known of old, we might associate them with the dwellings of kind and honest woodcutters or terrifying old hags. They prime the imagination.
Childhood is also the theme of a short but haunting video titled Mes enfants, mes enfants, a work that adds to the viewer’s overall experience of accumulations of matter, of an emphatic repetition of significant images and the remembrance of important events.
Born in Recife, North East Brazil, in 1960, Renato Bezerra de Mello studied Architecture and History of Art before attending the Parque Lage School of Visual Arts in Rio de Janeiro. By 2000 he had stopped practising as an architect and begun to work full time as an artist. This coincided with a move to France for a few years, where he attended the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts in Paris and worked as a studio assistant to, among others, Annette Messager and Christian Boltanski. Now based in Rio de Janeiro, his visual arts practice extends to educational and community arts projects and he has designed stage sets for productions of Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht’s ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’ and ‘The Lindberg Flight’ for the Rio de Janeiro Municipal Theatre and the Winter Festival at Campos de Jordá¾¶o, São Paulo (2008). Public collections that hold examples of his work include the Fundação Joaquim Nabuco, Recife, Brazil and Centre National des Arts Plastiques (CNAP), Paris. He has had solo and group exhibitions in Brazil, Bolivia, Indonesia and France. This will be the first presentation of his work in the UK.
The exhibition is curated by Tessa Peters and Maria Donato The Marsden Woo Project Space runs alongside our programme of solo and small group exhibitions by gallery artists. The Project Space allows us to respond quickly to significant bodies of innovative work and showcases the work of talented emerging artists and designers and fresh directions in the work of more established artists. The exhibitions are organized at short notice, so please check our website regularly for news on forthcoming shows and events. For more information, images, or to arrange an interview with the artist please contact:
Tatjana Marsden or Alida Sayer Tel: 020 7336 6396 Fax: 020 7336 6391