Magazine article Artforum International

Tobias Putrih: Luciana Brito Galeria

Magazine article Artforum International

Tobias Putrih: Luciana Brito Galeria

Article excerpt

SAO PAULO

Tobias Putrih

LUCIANA BRITO GALERIA

At first sight, "Compressoes," (Compressions), the first solo exhibition in Brazil by Boston-based Slovene artist Tobias Putrih, seemed to pay homage to the gallery's own iconic town house, designed by Rino Levi and completed in 1959. The show featured thirteen suspended screens made from cardboard, plywood, metal, wooden clothespins, and elastic. Hung adjacent to a central pergola that created a setting for conversation, they coexisted gracefully with a beige-tiled open fireplace and a tropical garden designed by Roberto Burle Marx. The screens' formal appearance echoed the conjunctions of perforated walls (cobogo) that compose different spaces within this modernist building.

The screens are each approximately ten feet square and feature the brown cardboard honeycomb panels typically used as cores in industrially produced household interior doors. Suspended from the ceiling at various heights and at various angles, they were suggestive of window shades. At certain points the material's supple hexagonal cells were clipped together by clothespins. This manipulation of its shape offered abstract or figural evocations: One could see suggestions of mouths and noses or landscape reliefs--apertures that in turn allowed the viewer to peek through to the other side.

Putrih has long been occupied with experimental architecture. Take, for example, his wire sculptures, produced to re-create the soap-bubble experiments for lightweight structures originally conceived by the late Stuttgart architect Frei Otto, which were shown in 2010 at New York's MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38. But on this occasion, the artist embraced the opportunity to create a direct analogy to the emblematic work of Levi, a Brazilian modernist architect little known abroad. …

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