Magazine article Artforum International

Leda Catunda. (Reviews: Sao Paulo)

Magazine article Artforum International

Leda Catunda. (Reviews: Sao Paulo)

Article excerpt

GALERIA FORTES VILACA

Leda Catunda is one of the key figures of geracao oitenta, the generation of artists that emerged in Brazil at the start of the '80s. In contrast to the Brazilian Concretist tradition, which sought synthesis and rationality through geometrically constructed abstractions, Catunda and her colleagues produced works that reconnected with daily life--with its humble narratives, its organic forms, and its ironies. Catunda painted on cloth, saturating it with paint, applying other materials to it, and producing exuberant pictorial tapestries depicting animals, objects, and landscapes. In the '90s she focused on the formal possibilities of her material, cutting pieces of fabric into various shapes and joining them with rings to framelike structures crossed by interwoven strips of canvas. Some of the cloths she painted, others she sewed and stuffed with more cloth.

Now Catunda has returned to figuration and a certain narrative tone, but in a subtler, almost intangible fashion characterized by great formal sophistication. Retrato (Portrait) (all works 2002), the title work of this exhibition, is made of thirty-nine pieces of fabric cut into droplike shapes and superimposed on a form that resembles a beehive. Each drop is made from pale cloth with nuances of color. Some of the drops show portions of bodies--for instance, the artist's eyes and mouth or the ears and nose of her husband, Sergio Romagnolo, who is also an artist. In this rounded, fragmented portrait that seeks to present a shared existence in the form of a puzzle, a couple is scrambling the pieces, each merging into the other along with scenes and images associated with the memories they share, such as a tree that stands in front of their house, a beach, or a landscape. …

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