The Palais de Tokyo are labelling it anthropomorphic architecture and I’m finding it takes me straight back to the first time I watched Jumanji, except with more economic significance and jaw-dropping awe than Robin Williams ever provided the first time round. Either way, Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira’s new installation Baitogogo, as art of the Palais de Tokyo’s New Waves exhibition, has been kicking up quite a fuss.
The sculpture gives the impression that the structural beams which hold the gallery’s rooms in place have come to life, twisting themselves into a gordian knot and threatening to take over the gallery space. Made predominantly from a type of wood called “tapumes” which is generally used to build hoarding in cities in Brazil, the almost parasitic growth of the piece recalls the urban decay of the favelas of São Paulo, and the societal damage that the vast gap between the rich and the poor is causing there. Awe-inspiring, fascinating and overwhelmingly effective, this is perhaps the best artistic rendering of a country-wide economic and cultural crisis that I have ever seen. The nice people over at My Art Agenda have also put together a film documenting the process of building the piece, which is almost as interesting as the work itself.