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Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum presents the work of Brazilian artist Barrão
Barrão, Seus Afluentes, 2011. Courtesy of the artist and Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo.

RIDGEFIELD, CT.- Brazilian artist Barrão re-purposes popular ceramics he finds at second-hand stores, flea markets, and dumpsters by clustering them all together for the production of his large-scale, whimsical sculptures.

Mashups, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States, will open at The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum on January 29, 2012. It will present three works built from fragments of preexisting objects, including an exotic five-foot-tall tree made from glued-together decorative porcelains. Instead of producing tropical fruits, the tree sprouts a diversity of creatures, including roosters, dogs, and swans.

Barrão’s free-spirited juxtaposition of the remnants of functional and decorative objects establishes new sets of relationships between the parts. United in his sculptures, the disparate pieces are freed from their previous functions to form a whole new identity, one that escapes immediate commodification. The sculptures transform the detritus of our everyday lives into new configurations, inserting discarded objects back into circulation as art works, with an ample balance of presence and mystery.

Curator Mónica Ramírez Montagut has written about Barrão’s work for an illustrated monograph published by The Aldrich in association with Mashups, available from the Museum store. She says, “Modern consumerism fosters a constant desire to acquire and amass a surplus of objects and consumer goods, like popular ceramics. Barrão shares the street vendor’s fascination with forsaken objects that were once perceived as valuable and now find themselves homeless, objects that used to be considered beautiful and are now kitsch, and that were previously a sign of their times and are now passé. His sculptures have the power of enchantment, rewarding viewers who take the time to identify and acknowledge their perception of the works.”

Found Opening: The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum will celebrate the opening of Barrão: Mashups along with five other Found exhibitions—by artists who work with appropriated ideas and salvaged materials—at a reception on Sunday, January 29, 2012, from 3 to 5 pm ($7 adults; $4 seniors; FREE for members, pre-K–12 teachers, and children 18 and under). Prior to the reception, the Museum will host a panel from 2 to 3 pm, where artists Barrão, Jim Dingilian, Roy McMakin, and Kathryn Spence will discuss their relationships with the found objects central to their work. Onsite parking is available, as is direct round-trip transportation from New York City.

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