The Beauty of Precision
Nelson Felix at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo

The sculptor Nelson Felix does not only work with classic materials such as marble, steel, and bronze. Bones, live plants, and even trees can also be components of his sculptures. The artist, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1952, combines formal precision with poetic beauty. Now the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, supported by Deutsche Bank, is mounting the first large retrospective dedicated to the artist. The show, titled OOCO, documents the great diversity of his work. It encompasses expansive sculptures as well as installations, photographs, and videos, including numerous works made expressly for this exhibition.

After studying painting with Ivan Serpa, one of the most important proponents of Neoconcretismo, Felix began as a drawer in the 1980s. Soon, though, sculpture became his most important means of expression. He processes influences from the Brazilian avant-garde as well as from American Minimal and Land Art. He installed his Great Buddha in the middle of the jungle, for which he laid a wreath of brass barbs around a young mahogany tree. Over the years, this cool, geometric “crown of thorns” dug ever deeper into the tree, finally disappearing completely in the wood. In the exhibition, outdoor works are documented by videos based on photographs taken by the artist. One of them is his sensational project in the former stables of the Parque Lage in Rio de Janeiro. He filled the historic building with a forest of steel beams that extended all the up to just below the high ceilings. At the center of the room, four of the beams were connected to each other by a nine-ton ring of Carrara marble. Metal also meets marble in a sculpture on view at the Pinacoteca: Like a bolt of lightening, a single steel beam drives through a fragile grid structure. The play with natural and industrially manufactured material, heaviness and lightness, and calm and dynamism lends this sculpture an unbelievable presence that characterizes Nelson Felix’s entire oeuvre.

Nelson Felix – OOCO
4/18/2015 – 6/28/2015
Pinacoteca de São Paulo