Janaina Tschäpe returns to São Paulo with Mapping the Unattainable, her seventh solo exhibition at Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel. The artist occupies the wide space of Galpão with new large-format paintings. Although essentially abstract, the works design a landscape simultaneously projecting and reflecting itself from psyche to nature.
Resulting from an intense observation of color and acute sensitivity to light transitions, the paintings emerge at first as a synesthetic experience. Following the pace of her wide powerful brushstrokes of casein paint, several watercolor pencil elements overlay the canvases granting them melodious themes. “My painting arises out of my observations, which can be observations of nature or from fantasy just as well; the two always go together for me. I consider everything to have color: vowels, tones, numbers, words”.
An interlace of memory, personal fiction and literature grants the titles narratives that guide the viewer through these landscapes. After Nodding Violets (2019) and Purple Forest Roam (2019) borrow their titles from an excerpt of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which refers to the violet flowers that bloom in the field. In the former an intricate translucent weave overlays the painting’s skin like lace, while in the latter the dominant color dissolves into an opaque green background in a liquid motion. Radiant Hues of Paradise (2019) is a quote from Goethe’s Faust. Romanticism permeates Tschäpe’s lexicon from the very beginning of her career in photographs and videos. In Search of the Miraculous (after Bas Jan Ader) (2019) also flirts with romantic ideals in a tribute to the conceptual artist who vanished in 1975 after sailing away alone from the Massachusetts coast aboard a small boat. This quest, as the exhibition title suggests, merges with the practice of painting itself. While on canvas everything seems to be in constant flow, it is worth noting the sense of alertness and attention to detail work, which makes each encounter with the canvas a unique experience.
Born in Münich and raised in São Paulo, Janaina Tschäpe (1973) studied Fine Arts at Hochschule fur Bilende Kuenste in Hamburg and holds a MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, where she has lived since 1998. Recent projects include a 65ft mural for SESC Guarulhos inaugurated last May. This September she will take part in the group show Live Dangerously at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, D.C.), where the complete set of her photographic series 100 Little Deaths (1996–2002) will be displayed for the first time. Among her solo shows, highlights include: Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson (Tucson, 2014); Kasama Nichido Museum of Art (Kasama, 2009); Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin, 2008). In 2020, she will have a major solo exhibition at the Sarasota Art Museum (Florida). Her work is present in the following international collections: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid), TBA21 (Vienna), Inhotim (Brumadinho), MAM Rio de Janeiro, among others.