Magazine article Artforum International

Rivane Neuenschwander: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

Rivane Neuenschwander: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Article excerpt

Reviewing "Tropicalia: A Revolution in Brazilian Culture" at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, in these pages earlier this year, Irene Small asked what it suggests for this short-lived movement, comprising visual arts, music, theater, and cinema--inaugurated by an installation of Helio Oiticica's, and fully extant only from 1967 to 1969--to have enjoyed such a long (and long since institutionalized) afterlife. "If Tropicalia's decentering power rests on a permanently shifting periphery," she asked, "what does it mean that history ended up on its side?" Like so many momentarily disruptive avant-gardes, the punctual interruption of Tropicalia subsequently assumes a canon. Maybe this inversion is inevitable, or even desired. But its influence now threatens to overwhelm more recent interventions by Brazilian artists like Rivane Neuenschwander, who while surely activating this legacy of art as open proposition also move beyond it.

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In "Other Stories and Stories of Others," Neuenschwander's first exhibition at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, which was also her first solo show in New York, her so-called ethereal materialism--which owes much to Oiticica, Lygia Pape, and Lygia Clark--was very much in evidence. Even so, Neuenschwander's range of references here far exceeded Neo-concrete circumscription; each of the thirty-eight collages titled One Thousand and One Possible Nights, 2006, for example, references Scheherazade. All feature letter-sprinkled confetti punched from the pages of The Arabian Nights and then scattered on black grounds. Like other of Neuenschwander's past projects, including Deadline Calendar, 2001-2002, an elegiac installation of perishable items displaying their "best before" dates, it functions as a sort of wry agenda, corresponding to the duration of the show (one page per day).

Meanwhile, Story of an Other's Day, 2005, an orange Remington 12 typewriter modified to produce not letters but black and red dots, invited participation and effected daily arrangements of its own. …

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