Janaina Tschäpe returns to São Paulo with Mapping the Unattainable, her seventh exhibition at Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel. The artist occupies the wide space of Galpão with new large-format paintings. Although essentially abstract, the paintings design a landscape simultaneously projecting and reflecting itself from psyche to nature.
Resulting from an intense observation of color and acute sensitivity to light transitions, the paintings emerge at first as a synesthetic experience. Following the pace of her wide powerful brush strokes of casein paint, several watercolor pencil elements overlay the canvases to grant them melodious themes. “My painting arises out of my observations, which can be observations of nature or from fantasy just as well; the two always go together for me. I consider everything to have color: vowels, tones, numbers, words”.
An interlace of memory, personal fiction and literature grants the titles narratives that guide the viewer through these landscapes. After Nodding Violets (2019) and Purple Forest Roam (2019) borrow their titles from an excerpt of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, referring to the violet flowers that bloom in the field. On the former an intricate translucent weave overlays the painting’s skin like lace. On the latter the dominant color dissolves onto an opaque green background in a liquid motion. Radiant Hues of Paradise (2019) is a quote from Goethe’s Faust. Romanticism permeates Tschäpe’s lexicon from the very beginning of her career in photographs and videos. In Search of the Miraculous (after Bas Jan Ader) (2019) also flirts with romantic ideals in a tribute to the conceptual artist who, in 1975, has vanished after sailing away alone from the Massachusetts coast on a little boat. As the exhibition title hints, this quest for or mapping of something unattainable merges with the painting practice itself. While on canvas everything seems to be on constant flow, it’s interesting to notice the alertness and attention to detail present in each one of them, which makes each encounter with the canvas a unique experience.
Born in Münich and raised in São Paulo, Janaina Tschäpe (1973) has studied fine arts at Hochschule fur Bilende Kuenste in Hamburg and holds a Masters in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she lives since 1998. She has solo shows scheduled for 2020 at the Sarasota Art Museum (Florida) and at Musée de l’Orangerie (Paris), where her paintings and a video installation will be displayed across from Monet’s Water Lilies. Her most recent projects include a 65ft mural for SESC Guarulhos, inaugurated last May. In September she will also take part in the group show Live Dangerously at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington, D.C.), where the complete set of her photographic series 100 Little Deaths (1996–2002) will be displayed for the first time. Highlights of her solo shows include: Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson (Tucson, 2014); Kasama Nichido Museum of Art (Kasama, 2009); Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin, 2008). Her work is part of important collections such as: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid), TBA21 (Vienna), Inhotim (Brumadinho), MAM Rio de Janeiro, among others.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)