Miami Art Museum Opens Brazilian Artist Rivane Neuenschwander Survey

Artist’s Collaborations with Musicians, Forensic Artists, Bar Patrons, Nature and Exhibition Visitors Result in Poetic, Yet Playful Works

The Miami Art Museumpresents the first mid-career survey of the work of Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander (b. 1967, Belo Horizonte, Brazil) focusing on over ten years of innovative practice. Neuenschwander’s work, which includes painting, photography, film, sculpture, immersive installations and participatory actions, combines conceptual rigor, sensory appeal, poetic evocation and viewer interaction. Rivane Neuenschwander: A Day Like Any Other (on view, July 17 through October 16, 2011) punctuates the elements that have led to her reputation as one of the most unique contributors to contemporary Brazilian art.

Inspired by nature, time, life cycles, mysteries of perception and human exchange, Neuenschwander creates playful, sensual and often participatory artworks that blur distinctions between author, artwork and viewer. For some of the work on view, Neuenschwander is the sole creator. Other pieces are the result of collaborations with entities as varied as musicians, forensic artists, bar patrons, nature and the exhibition’s visitors. Motifs that repeat with regularity include mapping, measuring, trading and categorization.

“Rivane Neuenschwander is a very unusual artist in that many of her artworks are collaborations with ‘partners’ over which she has little or no control–rain, gravity, ants, the public,” said Peter Boswell, assistant director for programs/senior curator, Miami Art Museum. “She initiates situations and then lets them go, giving up control. That kind of generosity and openness is pretty rare and the results are often amazingly poetic.”

The exhibition, presented in Miami Art Museum’s plaza-level gallery, will include two of Neuenschwander’s immersive, viscerally beautiful installations, Rain Rains (2002) and I Wish Your Wish (2003). Rain Rains is an environment of dripping buckets, suspended from the ceiling to create an artificial rain environment. I Wish Your Wish is inspired by a tradition of a church in Bahia, Brazil, in which the faithful bind ribbons to their wrists and to the gates of the church; according to tradition, their wishes are granted when the ribbons wear away and fall off. In Neuenschwander’s version, visitors choose from thousands of ribbons printed with the wishes from past visitors to the installation and replace them with wishes of their own, turning private aspiration into collective responsibility.

The importance of film and literary sources can be seen in The Conversation (2010), a skewed homage to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 film, and First Love (2005), a psychologically complex adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s novella by the same name. The Conversation, realized especially for this exhibition, is an immersive installation that investigates paranoia in an age in which privacy is no longer an individual’s natural right. In Neuenschwander’s First Love, visitors describe their ‘first love’ to a police sketch artist. The pencil sketches hang in the gallery for the duration of the exhibition, creating a very personal portrait gallery of perpetrators. In another work, A Thousand and One Possible Nights, Neuenschwander creates a calendar of constellation-like collages made by punching holes in pages of The Arabian Nights: Tales of 1,001 Nights.

In conjunction with the exhibition, Miami Art Museum has organized a satellite installation at Miami Dade College InterAmerican Campus, featuring a video art work in Miami Art Museum’s permanent collection entitled Quarta-Feira de Cinzas/Epilogue (Ash Wednesday/Epilogue). The video depicts ants laboriously hauling glittering pieces of multi-colored confetti into their holes, a reference to the aftermath of Carnival festivities in Brazil. The installation will be on view at InterAmerican Campus, 627 SW 27th Ave., Miami, FL 33135, from July 14 through August 7, 2011.

Image: Rivane Neuenschwander, Eu desejo o seu desejo / I wish your wish, 2003. Silkscreen on fabric ribbons. Dimensions variable. Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Juan and Pat Vergez Collection. Image courtesy New Museum, New York. Photo by Benoit Pailley.

About Miami Art Museum
Miami Art Museum, a modern and contemporary art museum located in downtown Miami, FL, is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting international art of the 20th and 21st centuries with an emphasis on the cultures of the Atlantic Rim—the Americas, Europe and Africa—from which the vast majority of Miami residents hail. The new Miami Art Museum at Museum Park, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, is scheduled to open to the public in 2013. The new facility will provide room to showcase growing collections, expanded exhibition space to bring more world-class exhibitions to Miami-Dade County, and an educational complex, which will be a resource for the entire community.

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