Blum & Poe Broadcasts presents a focus on the practice of Brazilian artist Solange Pessoa, in conjunction with her first US museum exhibition currently installed at Ballroom Marfa, Texas. Like many other museums today, Ballroom Marfa is now closed indefinitely—this Broadcast is intended to share significant work that would otherwise be on view to the public.
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The title of the exhibition—Longilonge—refers to an invented word, found in the poetry of Carlos Drummond de Andrade. Pessoa repurposes this word to refer to the horizontal and mythic landscapes of both Marfa, Texas and her home state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Longilonge evokes a distant space or time, a longing for the unreachable, and a place for feelings and memories, a region of temporal textures.
“Fossils, archeological sites and cave paintings are all constants in my work. Perhaps the shadow-figures that appear in the drawings are part of this imaginary— the animals and plants, the powerful biodiversity of the Cerrado, the tropical savanna in parts of Minas Gerais. The fascinating character of the stones, the enigmatic and fantastic nature of the hinterlands of the sertão, the dry bushland in northeastern Brazil.”
Pessoa’s expressive and telluric work draws inspiration from many sources: nature, the Baroque, dreams and the unconscious, Tropicalia, prehistoric cave paintings and carved tools, Land Art, traditional craft, ancestry, Surrealism, and poetry. These and many other references lie under the surface of a fully developed lifework wrought from sustained material investigation, intuitive curiosity, and an acute command of gesture and form.
“I like things that happen, and works are transformed by forces over which I have no control. It’s important to me to be open to transformation.”
“They belong to the present. They seem to update and reshape the past, they connect with the future. They reencounter eternity. The sculptures evolve with time, which acts upon them. The stones are alive, they have existed for millennia, and they will continue to exist perhaps for many more…”
Pessoa’s practice is deeply rooted in land, human and natural history. In this focused exhibition, she gathered together materials and iconography from distant but similar environments, creating a conversation between shared forms and interwoven cosmogonies. Five distinct bodies of work converged for the exhibition—displaying touch-points in the artist’s career and creating a connective tissue of imagery, ideas, and relationships between two distant places in North and South America: West Texas and Minas Gerais, Brazil, where the artist lives and works.
The first comprehensive English-language monograph on Pessoa’s work, edited by art historians Alex Bacon and Cecilia Fajardo-Hill, and featuring scholarship by Fajardo-Hill, Liz Munsell, and Eduardo Jorge de Oliveira, was published this month. The exhibition at Ballroom Marfa runs through May 24, 2020.
“Materials exist in connection with thoughts and intuitions. They call us and choose us, they attract our perception and curiosity, and their untransferable nature and mysteries require research and close observation. They belong to the world and exist to be explored.”