Paulo Monteiro, born in 1961 in Sao Paulo (BR), lives and works in Sao Paulo (BR).Read More
Paulo Monteiro belongs to a generation Brazilian artists that find their roots in the eighties of Sao Paulo. Until March 1985 the country was under authoritarian military dictatorship. Ever since, there is a desire but also a struggle to maintain a democratic society. Many times Brazil has been a promising and rising nation in an economical perspective. The cultural identity of this country is diverse with an rich history in music, literature, architecture and arts.
After World War II, the concrete art movement dominates the art scene in Latin America. Rationalism takes the lead in favour of objectivity. The works look geometrical and formal with an emphasis on the material aspect and its own reality. Later on, a group of artists react on the previous developments and are more conscious of the perception by the viewer. Conceptual art follows along with more individual expressions by artists.
It’s in this context that Paulo Monteiro searches for his language and becomes part of Casa 7, a group of artists defined by the house they shared from 1982 till 1985. Around 1986 Monteiro accumulates materials such as wood, iron tubes, rubber and wire to construct sculptures. Their form is often flexible, free to change and to disappear. Most of these works didn’t survive. Monteiro is interested in motion, which he articulates through sculptures, paintings and drawings. In his early drawings, he let a black line travel nearby the edges of the white paper. The borders of the paper or of the canvas are places he likes to explore but also the line where different colours meet. The line becomes the main theme in his oeuvre but never results in a figurative image. The only representational forms that appear can refer to body parts or gestures articulated through dancing. Since a long time he practices classical ballet. Similar to this discipline, his lines and forms are organic, fluid, dynamic and round but yet controlled. Monteiro never plans ahead where the line or the form will go to although he has a set of rules that guide him during the process. The line eventually doesn’t need any support anymore and becomes a thing on its own, made out of bronze or aluminium. The floor sculptures have mainly earth or industrial colours. Bright and sweet colours enter his gouaches in 2005 and later on in his paintings too. For the artist paint does not primarily function as a colour but as a material. It’s in 2012–2013 that he also chose colour for hanging sculptures.
In his sculptures time and gravity lead towards stretched, bend or folded forms or take a solidified shape that he sometimes breaks by making a hard cut to open the body. His hands are his main tool to manipulate matter into shapes and to reproduce forms and lines but always slightly different and unique. Monteiro creates relational objects that have each an autonomous identity that can turn into a group and by so transcend the individual unit.
In 2014 MoMA in New York acquired a large group of works by Paulo Monteiro, including drawings, gouaches, sculptures and paintings.
Text courtesy Zeno X Gallery.