01 April 2012

Art I like - Mira Schendel

A Brazilian artist working with language, Mira Schendel's show of work from the 60s to 80s at MOMA in New York in 2009 included language-based work by Argentinian artist Leon Ferrari. " They produced their works in the neighboring countries of Argentina and Brazil throughout the 1960s and 1980s, when the question of language was particularly central to Western culture due to the central role taken by post-structuralism, semiotics, and the philosophy of language. Although their drawings, sculptures, and paintings are contemporary with the birth of Conceptualism, they are distinctively different." The show travelled to Spain and Portugal.

"Tangled Alphabets" at MOMA, New York, 2009
I came across her work in The Drawing Book (her name spelled Schindel) and was intrigued -
The monotypes she made in 1964-5 were "printed by pressing talcum-powdered rice paper against an oiled pane of glass...Schendel used her fingertips to create the resulting ghostly inscriptions. These could be viewed from either side, incorporating the wet street scene or gallery walls into messages that are pointedly emptied of narrative meaning, instead focusing on a sensual experience of words." They tie together language and mark-making -
Monotypes - from a 2009 mini-retrospective in London
A brief overview of her life here mentions her "drohuingas (little nothings)" - sculptures made of knots of paper. This video mentions the link of the word "knot" to the idea of word or verb -- "the words are knotted in speech like chords."
Japanese paper; image from here
Equally sculptural are her "trenzinhos (little trains)" - a simple accumulation of papers - her interpretation of the meaning of nothingness -
Japanese paper and nylon; dimensions variable. Image from here
She used Japanese paper mainly because of its transparency and because of the philosophical connotation that the paper represents nothingness.

In the late 70s she started working on "toquinhos (little things)" - which hang from the ceiling and create shadows - floating signs waiting for a meaning to come -
Letters and symbols on acrylic; image from here
Finally, some typing -
1975; image from here

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