In his new show at Galpão, Rodrigo Cass connects his interest in philosophy and art history to his own spirituality. The video and the paintings that are part of the exhibition hold a sculptural quality in which concrete is the synthesis of his artistic mindset: a spiritual element, living and breathing*. For the artist, breathing is at the bottom of all experience. “All that lives, breathes. And breathing is the action of the spirit.”
His work seeks, therefore, to promote moments of silence and pause with empty areas, clarified by the use of color. And so it happens in the series that names the show, which is divided between triptychs, polyptychs and single pieces. They are double-sided paintings made with concrete, tempera and linen that seem to be floating in space, hanging on the walls by one of its sides only. The formal solution brings them close to Objetos Ativos, by Willys de Castro, but also lends a rhythmic movement to the installation, in which planes unfold in different angles like a living creature.
The monochrome surface of the pieces is interrupted by several streaks of white concrete, meticulously applied to create margins or gaps. They’re fragments of a devoid whole, which insists on revealing itself. For Cass, each streak is also the record of a choice, and summarizes his prayers, experiences and experimentations at the studio.
In an analogue way, the video Anatomia da Revolução shows a series of short and independent actions that are interleaved to create a single body. In one of these snippets, a black surface is painted white as the artist spills milk over a hanger. Another scene shows the interruption of a clockwork, using a nail and a hammer. All seven scenes that comprise the piece integrate elements from performance and give objects a strong symbolic charge.
Rodrigo Cass was born in 1983, in São Paulo, where he lives and works. His solo shows include: Até o Concreto, Galpão Fortes Vilaça (São Paulo, 2016); Espaço Liberto, Galerie MDM (Paris, 2015); 5#5: Rodrigo Cass, Meyer Riegger (Karlsruhe, Germany, 2015), Material Manifesto, Galpão Fortes Vilaça (São Paulo, 2014); Programa de Exposições do Centro Cultural São Paulo (São Paulo, 2013). Among his group shows, stand-outs are: Building Material: Process and Form in Brazilian Art, Hauser & Wirth (Los Angeles, 2017); 10ª Bienal do Mercosul (Porto Alegre, 2015); Imagine Brazil – travelling show that has passed by Astrup Fearnley Museet (Oslo, 2013), Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon (Lyon, 2014), Instituto Tomie Ohtake (São Paulo, 2015), and DHC/ART (Montreal, 2015); Bolsa Pampulha, Museu de Arte da Pampulha (Belo Horizonte, 2011).
* The artist quotes a statement by Lina Bo Bardi, taken from a video interview in which she says: “I see concrete as a living creature, as a living being. It breathes”.