Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander is no stranger to Stephen Friedman Gallery, and her latest exhibition will be her fifth with the Mayfair gallery.
The upcoming show The Reading Box, The Moon, Misfortunes and Crimes unpacks a cultural idea – “a game, a religious offering or a memory” — via many means: site-specific installations, projects, and paintings. Through the varied mediums run themes of politics and Brazilian culture. A series of new paintings retells the intoxicating tale of Latin American ‘ex- votos’ — votive offerings to saints in memory of an event or in hope of something to come — but it was Rivane’s hand-sewn flags which had caught our attention hook, line and sinker.
Inspired by a ‘70s version of the strategy game Risk, the flags are decorated with brightly-coloured, abstract landmasses. Each country’s identity is conveyed through text— India, Mongolia, Dudinka, Vietnam, Poland, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Greenland, China, Mexico, Columbia, Venezuela, South Africa and Sweden. Separating each country is another canvas flag dominated by a blood-red rectangle, some reading WAR at the top and bottom in capital letters.
“Seen together, these works examine broad themes in politics, current affairs and Brazilian culture,” say the Stephen Friedman Gallery. “With fervent and analytical curiosity, the artist continues her uniquely humanist project in which local scenarios and global ideas come together in powerfully engaging works.”
Neuenschwander adds that “there is no language without lapse, no communication without mistake, no alphabet without gap, no theory without fantasy, no memory without oblivion”.
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