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Gustavo Rezende

Regina Teixeira de Barros

Gustavo Rezende’s production from 
the period in which he was interested
in tridimensional forms (almost ten years) may be divided into two phases. Initially his pieces were ‘doubles’: twin forms, so to speak, placed side by side or joined together. Each sculpture consists of similar forms, just as a mathematical equation’s terms equal each other. They are archetypal forms such as stylized houses or towers, canes or staffs, backs, or ‘bones’ made of wood or coated wood.

But these works are not confined to sheer formalism. On the contrary, they are just points of departure — and arrival — for a game announced by their titles. Their terms are only identical visually, since their titles take viewers to a different dimension: that of an intellectual game or play. It is the title that draws in viewers and sets enigmas to be solved, or at least gradually elaborated.

Rezende’s titles unleash a process of associations in order to determine the extent to which the terms posed are similar. Thus, we wonder what there
is in common between O imperador e
seu dorso, or between The Hut and Our Lives, or between O destino e a razão. To what extent are O observador e o ponto de fuga the same thing? O artista e o mundo animal are visually two equal terms of an equation, but where does this equivalence reside? Provocations have been put forth. And responses invariably depart from

the territory of the arts and move into the realm of literature, philosophy, religion (Cam e Sam), memory (Fratelli e Sorelli) or personal fantasies (The Princess and her Fate).

Once the question has been asked,
viewers look for their own solutions and come back to the object in front of them, interrogating the visual synthesis posed by Rezande in a circular game in which the artwork is the point of both departure and arrival.
The “doubles” are wall-hung pieces derived from his drawing and painting. Since 1995, his sculpture has dropped its shyness and taken possession of space. Pai e filho (1991/92) consists of two stylized heads, one wooden, the other bronze, both wall-hung pieces; whereas Pai (1996) is a wooden phallus on a base held upright by tightened vise grips. Similarly, Cabeça has been enlarged to huge proportions. With its many articulated joints, it is not on the wall but resting heavily on the floor.
The installation shown at Espaço Cultural Sergio Porto (Rio de Janeiro, 1996)
inverts or reverses predictable relations:
its vases or urns (made from stacks of

circles cut from corrugated paper) have no contents: no flowers, no potions, and no bones. Their functionality and ancestral connection with the earth have been lost. Held by taut cable wires, they take on a lightness that not only defies gravity but also configures an improbable suspension of time.

Rezende’s tridimensional investigations continue with the backlit pieces Nine Feet Sculpture and Sem título (from the collection of Museu de Arte Moderna
de São Paulo). Using the ever-flat photographic images, he provocatively shows them with a volume created by the light box.

Within the assortment of his materials, techniques and perspectives, there is a common denominator across every period of his production: in both the ‘romantic mathematics’ and his more recent works, a thread of subtle humor runs through them all.


Published in Tridimensionalidade. São Paulo: Instituto Cultural Itaú, oct. 1997, p. 200-201.

[Text published in Gustavo Rezende: Uma antologia por Tadeu Chiarelli. São Paulo: Editora WMF Martins Fontes, 2013.]

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