Exhibitions Museums News Brazil

Artists and architects pay homage to Brazilian Modernist

Hans Ulrich Obrist opens show in Lina Bo Bardi's “Glass House” in São Paulo, plans next exhibition at Calder house in America

Lina Bo Bardi’s former home, the Casa de Vidro (Glass House). Photo: Luis Asín

More than 30 artists and architects including Cildo Meireles, Isaac Julien, Cristina Iglesias, Norman Foster and Olafur Eliasson have created new works in homage to the Brazilian Modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi. The São Paulo exhibition, “The Insides are on the Outside”, is the latest “house-museum” project organised by Hans Ulrich Obrist, the co-director of London’s Serpentine Gallery. It takes place at Bo Bardi’s former home, the Casa de Vidro (Glass House) and at SESC Pompeia, the factory which she and her husband Pietro Maria Bardi converted into a cultural centre (5 April-2 June).

“So many artists told me about the Glass House, and [they are] obsessed by it,” says Obrist, adding that “the Brazilian context is so dynamic—there are generations of amazing artists.” He was introduced to Bo Bardi by Cildo Meireles, who has created an installation, Lina, va fare un caffe, which spreads the smell of coffee throughout the house. The artist Ernesto Neto has covered the SESC Pompeia tower with a “gigantic installation”, Obrist says, while Dan Graham has built a new pavilion. Several artists, including Adrián Villar Rojas and Tamar Guimaraes, have produced films in tribute to Bo Bardi, while the Japanese architect firm Sanaa has created a suite of furniture. Cinthia Marcelle has created a polyphonic soundtrack for the house, based on Lina Bo and Pietro Maria Bardi’s vinyl record collection while Gilbert & George spent a day at the house as living sculptures, documenting the results with postcards that will be distributed to visitors.

The project is the latest in a series of domestic interventions by Obrist, who has previously staged exhibitions at London’s Sir John Soane’s Museum, as well as the homes of architect Luis Barragán in Mexico City, philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in Sils Maria, Switzerland and poet Federico García Lorca in Granada, Spain. “I started my career as a curator in my kitchen,” Obrist says. “Artists do different kinds of work than they would in a museum or bigger space. That sense of intimacy is important.”

This exhibition will be produced by Isabela Mora, international projects manager at the Fondation Beyeler, who worked with Obrist on the 2008 Lorca show.

The next project will take place in America, at the house of the late artist Alexander Calder in Roxbury, Connecticut. Calder is also part of the show in Brazil—he made two drawings of Lina Bo and Pietro Maria Bardi on the occasion of his first visit to Brazil in 1948, during which time he became friends with the couple.

Bo Bardi at the construction site of the Museu de Arte de São Paulo building
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