Nara Roesler São Paulo is pleased to present José Cláudio: a trajectory, a retrospective exhibition curated by Aracy Amaral, that aims to honor one of the great names of Pernambucan art from the second half of the 20th century. Occupying the two spaces of the gallery's São Paulo headquarters, the exhibition presents over one hundred works by the artist, developed throughout the seventy years of his career. This is the first time such a comprehensive exhibition of José Cláudio’s work has been held in São Paulo, displaying the magnitude of the work of the artist and intellectual who played a key role in establishing the trends of modern art in Pernambuco. José Cláudio: a trajectory opens to the public on October 8 and is on display until November 5, 2022.
“José Cláudio is a complete artist”, says Nara Roesler who, when opening her first gallery in Recife, in the mid-1970s, had José Cláudio as one of the first artists to be exhibited. Now, more than forty years later, the gallery presents the artist's work again with a selection of pieces that comprise fundamental moments of José Cláudio's artistic practice, including works from the collections of MAC USP, the Palácio do Governo and several private collections.
José Cláudio's relationship to the city of São Paulo goes back a long way. In 1955, after joining the Atelier Coletivo, directed by Abelardo da Hora in Recife and after his visit to Salvador, where he met
Mário Cravo Júnior (1923–2018) and Carybé (1911–1997), José Cláudio arrived in São Paulo, where he worked as an assistant to Di Cavalcanti and attended the Escola de Artesanato do MAM, under the guidance of Lívio Abramo. In the 1970s, the artist joined the team at the USP Museum of Zoology to undertake a trip to the Amazon for scientific research. Some of the works presented in the exhibition come from this experience, which were also gathered in the book, 100 telas, 60 dias e um diário de Viagem, Amazonas 1975 (2009).
The exhibition also includes works from the Carimbos series, developed in the 1960s, in which the artist uses stamps to create visual narratives. By making his own stamps, Cláudio freely expressed his creative vision, even developing several books that are now seen as true tokens of the 'Process Art’ movement.
In addition to the portraits and the female nudes, a recurring theme in Cláudio’s practice, landscapes and scenes of popular festivities are also present. The variety in his practice is evident, as is his particular approach to recurrent themes and genres from the history of art, as he closes the gap between tradition and popular culture.
These relationships are present in the series of works developed from the beginning of the 1980s, in which the artist revisits the famous painting by Almeida Júnior (1850–1899), O Repouso do Modelo. The exhibition also contains publications and historical documents that allow the public a further glimpse into José Cláudio’s immense artistic and intellectual output.
“José Cláudio is a creator. Painter, sculptor, writer, researcher and most of all, a scholar. He is an art historian in Pernambuco with a delectable archive of stories and characters he met or events he participated in, which as an engaging storyteller, he narrates with real facts that we absorb from his books, or through listening and asking for details.”, says curator Aracy Amaral. “In truth, José Claudio goes beyond the limits of the planned spaces. For he is much more than an observer, chronicler, historian. His quality as an exceptional creator and restless speculator, makes us mark him as the great painter-creator of Recife and the light of the Amazon”.