Nara Roesler New York is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of Brazilian artist Marcelo Silveira (1962), in the United States. The show is curated by Moacir dos Anjos, who notably curated the 29th Bienal of São Paulo and the 30th Panorama of Brazilian Art, the two most significant shows of contemporary art in Brazil. The presentation brings together works from different periods within the artist’s oeuvre, (ranging from 2005 to 2021), with a particular focus on his practice with Cajacatinga, a native wood from the Brazilian Atlantic forest. In Pernambuco, where the artist lives and works, this wood has been extensively logged to open land for the cultivation of sugarcane, and is now almost extinct, with mostly only roots remaining, themselves burnt successively during seasonal fires. Silveira collects such fragments, creating works that give the remnants new forms and purposes. The show also presents recent collages from the series Hotel Solidão, created with the use of images extracted from old magazines from the 1950s.
In series such as the Manuais de Liêdo and Peles, Silveira investigates the characteristics of cajacatinga wood, testing the limits of its plasticity, sculpting it, wearing it out, and creating lines of resistance on its surface. He then organizes the sculptures into different configurations, sometimes as reliefs, hanging on or leaning against walls; other times, placed directly on the ground as if emerging from it, as in De natureza viva; or alternatively, suspended from the ceiling, as in Pêndulo and Aérea.
Silveira’s practice is characterized by a particular interest for objects and materials that no longer serve any functional purpose in everyday life. The act of gathering objects is recurrent in the artist's work, giving rise to a process that is anchored in the idea and the act of collecting. The artist incorporates these so-called "leftovers" into his practice in a process that is characterized by an economy of the material: Whether recovering abandoned wooden structures, or incinerated fragments, or collecting magazines, perfume glasses, pieces of plastic, old photographs, postcards, among other objects, the artist seeks to provide them with new forms, purposes, and meanings.
In Manuais de Liêdo, Silveira engraves pieces of cajacatinga using iron letters, with sentences taken from a collection of manuals, entwining two forms of collecting - that of woodparts, and of selected texts. Hotel Solidão [Hotel Solitude], on the other hand, is based on an ample collection of the Brazilian magazine "Grande Hotel", including issues ranging from 1947 to 1955. In this series, Silveira uses covers produced by Italian illustrators, which he carefully selects, sanitizes, cuts and pastes onto cardboard paper. With this, he creates compositions that stand out for their impactful multi-layered physicality and peculiar colorful appearance.
With a career spanning over thirty years, Marcelo Silveira has established himself as a leading name in contemporary Brazilian art. Marcelo Silveira: Hotel Solidão synthesizes the core ideas in the artist's creative process, foregrounding his interest for the aesthetic potentiality of residual items, as well as exploring new possibilities for recycling materials and their meaning, while masterfully establishing a bridge between contemporary art and Brazilian popular craftsmanship, questioning and broadening the implications of conventional artistic canons.