Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel presents Efrain de Almeida’s new exhibition Instâncias do Olhar [Instances of Seeing] at Galeria. Recurrent characters in the work of the artist reappear here through wood and bronze sculptures, watercolors and embroideries. Filled with symbolism and biographical elements, the pieces seem to form his own personal fable suspended in time.
Efrain Almeida revisits themes and characters from his repertoire to reframe them from a circular perspective. The central piece of the exhibition, for instance, is directly related to his previous show in São Paulo: in Uma coisa linda (A beautiful thing, 2014), he presented 150 bronze birds at Galpão, reenacting a flock of red-cowled cardinals landing on his own backyard. However, in d (2017) there is only one bird, fallen on its back over a wooden board. The image lyrically evokes the memory of his father, who passed away last year. It was his father’s exclamation that named the 2014 piece, and that gives more meaning to the laconic 2017 name choice (a reference to the words die and dad). The red-cowled cardinal, incidentally, is a typical bird from Northeast Brazil and, similarly to what his father once did, it migrates from the North to the South of the country.
Ninho do Beija-Flor (Hummingbird’s Nest, 2016) contrasts with that idea when it portrays the moment this tiny bird opens its eye for the very first time. The concept of vision as a mediator symbol between subject and reality is further developed in other pieces in the show. The wings of Mariposa (Moth, 2016) mimic the eyes of a predator as a defense mechanism. And in Cabeça (Transe) (Head [Trance], 2017), the eyes of a sculpture in wood reveal its introspection, an inwards movement. Here, Efrain’s interest turns to trance as a state of interstice – between imaginary and real, between madness and sanity – analogous to the artist’s very craft.
In Outsider (2017), the self-portrait takes shape with a silk shirt embroidered with the artist’s face. Hanging (2017), also an embroidery on silk, is a porous landscape in which the horizon supports a nest. In the sculptures and watercolors from the series Pouso (Landing), Efrain portrays perched hummingbirds to capture an ephemeral instant of stillness. The reduced palette of these watercolors evokes the sky of a melancholic late afternoon, creating a state of mind in the landscape.
Efrain Almeida was born in Boa Viagem (State of Ceará, 1964) and now lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. His recent exhibitions include: Uma pausa em pleno voo, Paço Imperial (Rio de Janeiro, 2015); Lavadeirinhas, SESC Santo Amaro (São Paulo, 2015); O Sozinho, Casa França-Brasil (Rio de Janeiro, 2013); 29. Bienal de São Paulo (2010); 10. Bienal de Havana (2009); Marcas, Estação Pinacoteca (São Paulo, 2007). His work is present in several public and private collections in Brazil and abroad, including: MoMA (New York), MAM (São Paulo), Centro Galego de Arte Contemporânea (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), Toyota Municipal Museum of Art (Toyota, Japan), Pinacoteca do Estado (São Paulo), among others.