BERLIN.- Galerie Max Hetzler
presents the third solo exhibition of Beatriz Milhazes, featuring four large scale paintings and a mobile, which were the subject of her solo show at Fondation Beyeler in Basel earlier this year, as well as recent collages.
Central to the exhibition are four monumental canvases of different sizes on the theme of the four seasons. They are composed of stylized, ornamental floral motifs and geometric forms which are symptomatic of Beatriz Milhazes' oeuvre, as is the transfer technique deriving from collage that she developed. Influenced by the tropical climate and vegetation of her home country Brazil, her work rhythmically constructed, features unique exuberant colours.
While the motifs of her paintings are applied on the canvas by decal transfer, the collages primarily consist of printed materials as candy or chocolate wrappers. These are assembled in compositions based on a graphic organisation reminiscent of pop art through the brand names that appear quite prominently.
Showing the mobile alongside the paintings and collages gives the exhibition a further dimension. The mobile combines elements which are used to embellish floats in Rio's Carnival parade like mirroring balls, chains and flowers. This sculptural work, the first she ever did, originates from a stage set Milhazes designed for her sister's dance company and was subsequently expanded.
Milhazes plays cultural cliché and tropicalist kitsch against the unyielding rationalism of hard lines, surrounding chaos with cool areas of unfettered colour. Its an approach which lends her paintings a tension and dynamism that steers familiar iconography into less obviously charted territory. Geometric abstraction lurks behind flourishes of an unfettered brightness, wrote Jennifer Higgie in Frieze Magazine.
Beatriz Milhazes work calls to mind cross-cultural references ranging from local flora, Rio's urban verve or Brazilian Baroque. Equally present are echoes of Henri Matisse's papiers découpés, Bridget Riley's early paintings or Brazilian Modernism established by artists such as Tarsila do Amaral in the late 1920s, which reworked and renewed external stimuli by incorporating them into the context of local history and culture.
Beatriz Milhazes was born 1960 in Rio de Janeiro, where she lives and works. Her past exhibitions include the Fondation Beyeler, Basel (2011); Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris (2010); Pinacoteca Estação, São Paulo (2008); MOT Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (2008); Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin (2008); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2007) and the 50th Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2003). Her work features in the collection of major museums such as the Museum of Modern Art (NY); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (NY); Metropolitan Museum (NY); 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Kanazawa); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid) and Carnegie Museum (Pittsburgh).
This exhibition will travel next year to the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon. A survey show is scheduled at MALBA-Fundacion Costantini in Buenos Aires in 2012.