Farnese de Andrade

With the curatorship of  Denise Mattar, the exhibition brings together around 70 works, such as paintings, drawings, engravings and three-dimensional works.


Persona of singular trajectory in the Brazilian visual arts scene, Farnese de Andrade has formidable oeuvre that invades the observer with its force and fragility; at the same time it disturbs the spectator with certain kind of morbidness. On March 23rd, the visitors will have the opportunity to see and take a closer look to the dualities of his production in Farnese de Andrade - Memórias Imaginadas, an exhibition carried out by the Almeida & Dale Gallery, in São Paulo. You can visit the show up to May 25th.


With the curatorship of Denise Mattar, the exposition consists of 70 artworks, bringing new enlightenment as it includes paintings, drawings, engravings and because the exhibition displays his artworks together with his formidable and unprecedented Brazilian three-dimensional production. Among the artworks, there are about 35 two-dimensional works, created in different periods of the artist's life.


The enigmatic feminine figures gain prominence, for which, the artist used young men as models. There are engravings and drawings displayed as well. Special attention to Censura, for which Farnase won an award in 1969, at the National Hall of Modern Art (Salão Nacional de Arte Moderna SNAM)  - exposition organized by the Ministry of Education and Health and by the National Museum of Fine Art (Museu Nacional de Belas Artes).


According to Denise Mattar “his engravings include textures, cuts and the contrast of light and shade. Without lifting the pen, he compulsively created the nankeens entitled Obsessivos, with great precision”.  Farnese developed one fine technique called “transformed ink” to create its colored drawings, attaining results very similar to painting. “They are dense, ambiguous works, percolated with perverse sensuality and immersed in an overwhelming visual jeweler ’s work”, she adds.


In 1964, the artist, who was already recognized by and awarded for the excellence, in both drawings and engravings, started to develop artworks he called “hand driven impression of forms”, technique that consisted of creating stamps made from decayed wood, old sandals and equipment wasted by the sun and salt, which the waves from the sea brought to land. The search for these materials, used initially as matrix to create exceptional engravings, ended up leading Farnese to his objects.


Then the artist started to collect many fragments, at first found at the beach and, later, he bought them in a kind of compulsion. Undertaken by anxiety to capture his own story as well as to plunge in his imagined memories, he imprisoned everything that is collected putting them into boxes, drawers, oratories and in similar objects, creating unfinished assemblages - process interrupted only when he soldg his work of art, which was done with regret. The artist ended up repurchasing them.


The exposition organized by the Almeida & Dale gallery brings together 35 objects of the artist, highlighting the numerous facets of this exceptional production akin to surrealist artists such as the German, Hans Bellmer, and the American Joseph Cornell. These are works of emblematic series, made between 1966 and 1995, and among those, Viemos do Mar, O Anjo Anunciador, Anunciação, São Jorge and Cosme and Damião.


 Farnese’s assemblages tackle issues such as memory, time, life and death, masculine and feminine, sin and punishment. They are antagonistic combinations of secrets and revelations, fear and malice, tenderness and cruelty. At the same time that human finitude is being scrutinized by broken up dolls and suspended heads in the air, the religion is questioned when it makes use of former-votes and saints paralyzed, cut, turned up side down.


“[Farnese] uses oratories, boxes and wooden bowls for a morbid mental tempestuousness, in a kind of suffocated cry. They are powerful artworks. But they are claustrophobic. They touch the unconsciousness deeply and without any compassion. Therefore fascinate, enchant, scare and bother”, as Denise Mattar says.


Almost making an echo to his uncommon production, Farnese's artwork has an ambiguous resonance to art criticism. Appreciated by contemporary reviewers as Tadeu Chiarelli, Helouise Costa, Ana Paula Nascimento, Rodrigo Naves, Charles Cosac, among others, he is, almost always, left out of the greatest Brazilian art exhibitions. “This occurs, in part, because most critics believe that constructivism enabled him to find his own way to the Brazilian art scene. But on the contrary, there is a more fundamental question to this one: the rejection of the surrealist matrix, already demonstrated in Mário de Andrade”, points out the curator.


Bringing together private collections from Rio De Janeiro, Bahia, Minas Gerais and Pernambuco, the exhibition Farnese de Andrade - Imagined Memories provides the audience with a rare chance to appraisal the artist’s comprehensive collection, as well as his world of imagined fantasies.


About the artist


Born in Araguari (Minas Gerais State), in 1926, Farnese de Andrade is stricken by tuberculosis when he was very young, at the age of 18. He retired early because of the disease. Then he initiated his drawing classes with Alberto da Veiga Guignard, at the Escola do Parque, in Belo Horizonte, city in which he lived with his mother, Maria de Andrade, named dona Mariquinha.


In 1948, after having spent a period away to undergo a health treatment, he completed the drawing course and moved to Rio De Janeiro. In Rio de Janeiro, he learned that he was not completely cured and spent almost two years in Correas Tuberculosis Sanatorium, in Petrópolis, Rio De Janeiro State.


He was cured and initiated a period in which he made illustrations for periodicals, magazines and books. In 1959, he studied steel engraving with Johnny Friedlander and Rossini Perez, at the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio, in the museum’s atelier. He participated in various editions of Salão Nacional de Arte Moderna (Brazilian Hall of Modern Art). He also participated in the VI, VII e IX editions of São Paulo Biennale, XXXIV Venice Biennale, II Bahia Biennale, among others.


In 1969, he received Foreigner Travel Award at the Salão Nacional de Arte Moderna.  He lived in Barcelona for 4 years. When he returned to Brazil, he focused on his three-dimensional production, becoming his distinctive feature.


Farnese de Andrade passed away, at the age of 70, July 1996 in Rio De Janeiro.

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