Transarquitetônica, Henrique Oliveira | São Paulo

Open in April 2014, the exhibition “Transarquitetônica” brings an intervention by Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira to the annex of the Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of São Paulo (MAC-USP). The artist was given the challenge of creating an object that would articulate with the space designed by the great master of Brazilian architecture, Oscar Niemeyer.

The object establishes a path, involving the individual and exploring the relationship between body and space. We enter the work through a single access which, at first, presents us with an orthogonal space of pure shapes and white walls; a rationalism characteristic of modernism, present in the work of Oscar himself. As we continue along this corridor, the space begins to be defragmented, exposing the materiality behind the immaculate cladding. We see the crudeness of the concrete block, followed by bricks and mud walls, revealing different construction methods, until we finally reach Henrique Oliveira’s characteristic wooden structure. At this point, the single, continuous route is unravelled into multiple paths. The distinction between floor, wall and ceiling no longer exists. The corridor becomes a tunnel, with organic mouldings, variations in headroom and elevations in the floor. Eventually, we exit through holes in the shell of the object, from where we can overlook the sculpture from the outside. In a return to its origins, the ends of the sculpture resemble the shapes of branches and roots.

Below is a sequence of photographs depicting these transitions.