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ERIKA VERZUTTI AT MASP

This is the first solo exhibition held in a Brazilian museum dedicated to the work of Erika Verzutti (São Paulo, 1971). Verzutti’s work is essential to an understanding of sculpture as it is practiced today, in Brazil and internationally. Her thought-provoking forms explore new possibilities for the medium, to the origin and materiality of sculpture, as well as its formal intelligence.

Using a variety of materials, including bronze, concrete, stone and papier-mâché, Verzutti’s works are sensual and tactile, coarse and refined. At the turn of the century, the artist began to produce sculptures in series, grouped over time into families of “swans,” “Tarsilas,” “jackfruits,” “cemeteries,” and others. The exhibition presents examples of works from these families, and strives to draw multiple associations between them. The artist’s most recent production is also included, “wall reliefs,” works that mix painting and sculpture and dialog with the history of art and the contemporary world in a novel way. Verzutti’s references include books on art and social history, elements of flora and fauna, images in circulation on social networks, newspaper articles, evoking animals and plants, landscapes and minerals, objects from our everyday lives and art—from authors like Tarsila do Amaral (1886-1973), Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), René Magritte (1898-1967), Piero Manzoni (1933-1966), and many others. With their unusual nature, the sculptures lend themselves to the unpredictable, at times with an element of humor, and refuse to accept established definitions or traditions—hence the subtitle for this exhibition: The Indiscipline of Sculpture. The exhibition is divided into seven sections, based on concepts from philosophy, psychoanalysis, popular culture and art history. The sections connect the works in many ways, as the result of their shapes, materials, themes and chronologies: “Becoming-Animal”, “Tropical Pathway,” “World Metaphor,” “Totemize the Taboo,” “Wild Modernism,” “Under Tarsila’s Sun (and Other Stories)” and “Strangely Familiar.”