Spotlight: Sonia Gomes's Alchemical Sculpture
15 September 2020
Sonia Gomes is one of the most important living Brazilian artists. In 2018 she was honoured with a major survey exhibition, Sonia Gomes: Still I Rise at the São Paulo Museum of Art (14 November 2018–10 March 2019).
Sonia Gomes, Vôo (2014). Moorings and different fabrics on wire. 100 x 100 x 60 cm. © Sonia Gomes. Courtesy Pace Gallery.
An alchemical approach to making sculpture combines elements of her Afro-Brazilian heritage with a devotion to revealing the history of the people that these found objects belonged to. Gomes transforms these second-hand objects into assemblages that somehow elicit an ancient or sacred spirit from the past, but their real potency emanates from the fluid physicality she manages to construct.
In Untitled, from the series 'A vida nāo me assusta' (2019)—currently on view at Pace Gallery in New York for Sonia Gomes / Marina Perez Simão (3 September–4 October 2020)—wire, seemingly from a cage, is anthropomorphised, whilst also becoming a nest to harbour egg-like stones and jewels. This is perhaps unsurprising, given the title of Gomes's series directly references Maya Angelou's poem, 'Life Doesn't Frighten Me', in which she celebrates a child overcoming fear. Gomes presents us with a similarly imaginative metaphorical image; playful and joyful but still reminding us of her past and the struggles of so many others.—[O]