Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel is pleased to present Carne Sintética [Cultured Meat], Erika Verzutti’s latest exhibition at the gallery. This will be the artist’s first show in Brazil entirely dedicated to wall reliefs, which since 2013 have become a central axis of her work. Guided by the tactile experience, these “wall sculptures” establish a complex relationship between sculpture and painting, form and sensorial expression. Verzutti presents fifteen new works in bronze, papier-mâché and clay, combining multiple references to the history of art, as well as her perception of contemporary phenomena ranging from Instagram to the ethical dimension of food nowadays.
This intersection of topics of distinct natures – a hallmark of her art making – highlights the artist’s will to disarray and distract the hierarchy usually employed in approaching such issues. In Picasso with Strawberries, for example, there’s the unlikely presence of the Spanish artist’s figure encrusted on the surface of the piece, resembling a chocolate cake scattered with tiny bronze-cast strawberries. In Cultured Meat, the flirtation between the physicality of food and the sculptural gesture results in an amorphous matter whose pink shades are a nod to the work of Canadian artist Philip Guston. The ability of form to ”camouflage” itself as food brings up urgent debates, while the planet’s natural resources head to depletion and the production methods of artificial meats and the like proliferate.
In an essay printed in the catalogue that accompanies her Centre Pompidou exhibition, José Augusto Ribeiro states: “The reliefs therefore call on tactile rather than inquisitive perception, a determination to discover what physical contact may bring about, by exploring, delving into the volume of their eye movements, from top to bottom and from side to side, toing and froing between the undulations and troughs, or even between different kinds of matter”.
The artist’s urge for the fraying of the sensorial experience within her work finds echoes in the internet hyper stimulation era. There is a connection between some of these pieces and slime, that sticky multicolored goo molded by kids in tutorial videos that became a fad in social media. These works go beyond the limits of visual stimulation, causing real “brain tingling” as they trigger and provoke other unsuspected sensorial areas of the human body.
The semi-random arrangement of the works around the gallery also points towards the status of the image in contemporaneity. Simultaneously, signs and references pass jointly through the viewer in a fast, nearly vertiginous, way. However, going against a world mediated (and two-dimensioned) by the canvases, Verzutti offers us images whose fruition ultimately require physical presence.
On November 9th Editora Cobogó will launch the Brazilian edition of Erika Verzutti’s Centre Pompidou exhibition catalogue, originally published in Paris last February. In addition to José Augusto Ribeiro’s previously mentioned essay, the book also features texts by Christine Macel, Chris Sharp, and a chronology of Verzutti’s trajectory from 1992 to now penned by Fernanda Brenner.
Erika Verzutti was born in São Paulo in 1971, where she lives and works. She holds a BA in Industrial Design from Universidade Mackenzie (São Paulo, 1991) and a MFA from Goldsmiths College (London, 2000). Recent solo shows include: Centre Pompidou (Paris, 2019), her first major institutional exhibition in Europe; Venus Yogini, Aspen Art Museum (Aspen, 2019); Cisne, Pepino, Dinossauro, Pivô (São Paulo, 2016); Swan with Stage, SculptureCenter (New York, 2015); and Mineral, Tang Teaching Museum (Saratoga Springs, NY, 2014). Other career highlights include participations in: the 57th Venice Biennale (2017); 32nd Bienal de São Paulo (2016); 34th Panorama da Arte Brasileira (São Paulo, 2015); Carnegie International (Pittsburgh, 2013); 9th Bienal do Mercosul (Porto Alegre, 2013); and 11th Biennale de Lyon (2011). Next November Verzutti will present a brand new installation at the Bienal de Coimbra (Portugal). Her work is part of important collections around the world, such as: Carnegie Museum of Art (Pittsburgh), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), MAM-SP (São Paulo), and Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo among others.