Gustavo Rezende

Gustavo Rezende

b.Passa Vinte, MG (1960)

In 1984, he graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, in São Paulo, and held his first solo exhibition at the Pinacoteca do Estado, “São Paulo: Urban Landscapes”.

Until the end of the 1980s, he participated in several group exhibitions in Brazil and abroad and was invited to solo shows at MAC-USP, where he presented an installation, and at Galeria Funarte. In the early 1990s, he was selected for two exhibition programs: in the Macunaíma Project, of the Brazilian Institute of Contemporary Art/Funarte, and in the São Paulo Cultural Center exhibition program. In 1991, he was also part of the Havana Biennial and the Panorama of Current Brazilian Art, organized by the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (MAM). In 1993, he received the British Council Fellowship Award. The following year, with a one-year scholarship, he was invited to the Master’s program at Goldsmiths College, in London (England), sponsored by the British Council of São Paulo. In London, he participates in group exhibitions at the Chisenhale Gallery and Mall Galleries. In 1995, back in Brazil, he presented at MAMSP the sculptures created and produced at Goldsmith College, which today are part of the Pinacoteca do Estado collection.

In 1996, he held a solo show at Espaço Cultura Sergio Porto, and in 1999, he was part, once again, of the Panorama da Arte Brasileira with Thompson Clark’s Paradox and Mark’s Nightmares. In 2000, he won the Vitae Arts Scholarship with the project A Gratidão do Reencontro. The results of the research developed with the award are presented the following year in an individual that brings a critical text by Tadeu Chiarelli.

Since 1995, he has been teaching three-dimensional expression in the Fine Arts course at Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (Faap). In 2004, he completed his doctorate in Visual Poetics – Reflective Production: Art, Subject and Space – at the School of Communications and Arts of the University of São Paulo, under the guidance of Carlos Fajardo. In 2006, he spent six months in Paris as artist-in-residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts/Studio Faap. Since then, the evolution of his work has been the subject of several individual and group exhibitions, having received in 2010 the Pinacoteca do Estado Acquisition Prize at the 6th edition of SP-Arte, with the work A Passagem do Tempo e a Natureza do Amor. In 2013, the Pinacoteca do Estado organizes a solo exhibition by Gustavo Rezende at Estação Pinacoteca, curated by Ivo Mesquita.

In 2017, he held a solo exhibition at Paço da Artes in Rio de Janeiro entitled Amor Sagrado, Amor Profano and in the following year he held the Parede Crepe Garden Project at MAM. In 2019, he performs site specific at the Museum of the City of São Paulo – Casa do Bandeirante with a project that won the ProAC Visual Arts Notice.

"Gustavo Rezende", by Regina Teixeira de Barros, 2013

In almost ten years of interest in three-dimensional forms, Gustavo Rezende’s production can be divided into two moments. Initially, his pieces are ‘doubles’: two shapes, so to speak, the same, placed side by side or joined together. Each sculpture is composed of similar shapes, like a mathematical equation whose terms are equivalent. They are archetypal forms, such as stylized houses or towers, sticks and staves, backs and ‘bones’ in wood or coated wood. But the works are not limited to pure formalism. On the contrary, they are just the starting point — and the arrival point — for a game, announced by the titles of the works. The identity between the terms is only visual, as the titles launch the observer into another dimension: that of the intellectual game. It is the title that hooks the observer and proposes enigmas to be, if not solved, at least progressively elaborated.

The title triggers a process of associations in order to determine to what extent the proposed terms are similar. Thus, we ask ourselves what is there in common between The Emperor and his back, between The Hut and Our Lives or between Destiny and reason. To what extent are the observer and the vanishing point the same thing? The artist and the animal world are visually two equal terms of an equation, but where does that equivalence lie? The provocation is done. And the answers invariably move away from the territory of the plastic arts and into the realm of literature, philosophy, religion (Cam and Sam), memory (Fratelli and sorelli) or personal fantasies (The Princess and her Fate).

To the question posed, the observer seeks his own solutions and returns again to the object in front of him, verifying the visual synthesis proposed by the artist, in a circular game, in which the work is at the same time a point of departure and arrival.

The ‘doubles’ are wall pieces, derived, in turn, from drawing and painting. From 1995 onwards, sculpture lost its shyness and took over the space. Pai e filho (1991/92) is composed of two stylized heads, one in wood, the other in bronze, both wall pieces; now Pai (1996) is a wooden phallus, on a base, which is kept upright thanks to the firm claws of a walrus. In the same way, the Head loomed large. Full of joints, it leaves the wall and, heavy, rests on the floor.

The installation presented at the Sergio Porto Cultural Space (Rio de Janeiro, 1996) inverts predictable relationships: the vases/urns (composed of an accumulation of circles cut out of corrugated paper) contain nothing: neither flowers, nor potions, nor bones. They lose their functionality and their ancestral connection to the land. Supported by tension cables, they acquire a lightness that not only defies the effect of the law of gravity, but also configures the improbable suspension of time.

In the Nine Feet Sculpture and Untitled backlights (São Paulo Museum of Modern Art collection), Rezende continues his three-dimensional research. Making use of photographic images—always flat—, he provocatively presents them with a volume, created by the light box. Within the diversity of materials, techniques and perspectives adopted by the artist, there is a common denominator in all moments of his production: both in his ‘romantic mathematics’ and in his more recent works, a thread of subtle humor runs through the set.

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