Discover the history of Brazilian modernism
This month Lane Magazine celebrates Brazilian art, design and music from the 1960s and 1970s.
Brazilian culture has always been an inspiration in the Lane studio, and with The Olympics taking place in Rio this year we thought we would pick out a few Brazilian legends for you to explore this weekend. All we need is some sun!
Art - Ivan Serpa (1923-73)
Ivan Serpa was a highly influential artist who formed and led Grupo Frente between 1952 and 1964. Grupo Frente were a group of Brazilian artists from Rio de Janeiro who embraced the ideals of ‘concrete art’, or what we now call 'geometric abstraction'.
Serpa explored Expressionist, Abstract and Figurative ideas in his playful and vibrant paintings, and you can see why they resonate with us in the Lane studio! Clean and simple geometric shapes, with a muted but jazzy colour scheme throughout, sometimes mirrored and pinched with a wry nod towards Op Art and very often resembling classic record label logos.
Many of his geometric works would sit nicely alongside one of own prints if you could afford one of Serpa’s originals!
Enjoy a wide range of Serpa’s works here.
What reminds you of Brazil?
When people talk of Brazil, the same images always appear: Copacabana beach, the Amazon jungle, the troubled poverty of the favelas, and of course football and samba.
However, Brazil has also been an enduring influence in modernist art and design and there is no greater example than Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho or as we know him, Oscar Niemeyer, the man who designed and built an entire city...
Architecture - Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012)
“I am not attracted to straight angles or to the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man. I am attracted to free-flowing, sensual curves. The curves that I find in the mountains of my country, in the sinuousness of its rivers, in the waves of the ocean, and on the body of the beloved woman. Curves make up the entire Universe, the curved Universe of Einstein.”
A colossus in modern architecture, Niemeyer designed striking and groundbreaking buildings across the globe. From the United Nations headquarters in New York City and every single building in his nation’s capital city, Brasilia, to signature pieces in Algeria, Paris, Italy, Spain and Lebanon. His sinuous lines and liberal but magical use of concrete and glass defined architecture in the 20th and early 21st centuries.
For more information on Oscar Niemeyer head to his Artsy page.
Brazil has always had a troubled political scene and despite his great fame, Niemeyer, a lifelong Communist, struggled under the military dictatorship between 1964 and 1985. He left Brazil in the 1960s to create wonderful work in Europe and North Africa, only returning in the mid 1980s.
At the age of 104 he was still designing, the pages in his sketchbooks flowing with ideas, an inspiration to us all.
Friday 27th May 2016, Rough Trade Nottingham, 7pm - 11pm, free entry
Carrying on the exploration into Brazilian culture our friends at Truth & Lies in collaboration with Rough Trade are putting on a free evening of films, speakers, live samba drummers and DJs at Rough Trade Nottingham on May 27th.
Focussing on the short-lived but highly influential Tropicália movement, a group of young artists who created fantastically vibrant and outward looking music, poetry, theatre and an exotic style of their own. They defied the powerful military ‘Junta’ and created a cultural explosion that still reverberates in Brazil and beyond today. Leading members such as Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso are now world famous and continue to tour internationally.
Brazil is unfortunately going through political problems right now that would be easily recognisable to Niemeyer and the Tropicalismo artists in the 1960s and 1970s.
The democratically elected President Dilma Rousseff has been impeached and a kind of ‘coup’ has essentially taken place. Based on the premise that the left wing Rousseff is weak and corrupt, the majority of the new members of Parliament are all themselves heavily implicated in corruption (and murder) scandals and the interim President Michel Temer is himself barred from running for any office for eight years but is somehow in charge of the country!
The new government have rapidly shown their neoliberal colours by relaxing social justice laws, opened up previously protected land for exploitation and closed down or absorbed entire ministries including the Ministry of Culture. With the most ethnically diverse population of any country in the world, the new Parliament is made up uniquely of middle aged white businessmen.
With huge and growing demonstrations against the ‘coup’ enveloping Brazil’s cities, this is going to be a hot summer of anger and it is hard to imagine that the Olympics will go smoothly. Brazilian artists are leading the call for the reversal of the ‘coup’, with political statements being made at public events around the world. This tragedy for the country will not go unchallenged it appears.
This video on Facebook is currently going viral. Artists, musicians and activists across Brazil are occupying government buildings to protest the interim government. They performed a special opera for Brazil's new acting president: