From Baroque to Banksy, the art world is always rebuilding from the foundations, and it’s this principle we find at the bedrock of Red Bull House of Art.
Last year, artists from around the world lived and worked in the dilapidated Hotel Central in downtown São Paulo, Brazil, and transformed the building into a monument to modern art. For the second year running, the biggest city in the southern hemisphere is playing host to the residential art project. The recently opened ‘Notes about a process’ exhibition is the latest chapter in the Red Bull House of Art multi-storey.
In a shift from the first Red Bull House of Art, the second project has taken place at the Edificio Sampaio Moreira. São Paulo’s first skyscraper was once the toast of the city’s skyline but like the Hotel Central had fallen on hard times. What better building to play host to 12 ambitious artists with a mission to breathe new life into the city’s ‘grandfather of skyscrapers’?
Another twist in this year’s event saw all 12 successful applicants not only needing to prove their credentials as promising rookie artists but also to be residents of São Paulo. In the first year, brilliant Brazilians worked alongside budding virtuosos from Portugal, Australia, France and the USA – this time out, it’s become a strictly all-Brazilian affair.
The first group of six artists packed up their paintbrushes and moved into Sampaio Moreira back on September 13. After working together as a close-knit community for six weeks, Adriano Costa, Bhagavan David, Bruno Baptistelli, Deyson Gilbert, Flávia Junqueira and Henrique César have now opened the doors to the gallery on the ground floor.
The six sketchers and sculptors knew that their ‘Notes about a process’ exhibition would have to use the impressive interior of the Sampaio Moreira but also ensure that their work did not get lost in the vastness of the building. A successful middle ground was reached as they took full advantage of the supplies provided by Red Bull, which extended from canvases to computer editing equipment.
‘Notes about a process’ sees a kitchen installation crafted from devilishly distressed wood side-by-side with multimedia screen projections. Meat hooks, plastic bags and engine parts complement time-honoured oil paintings and wistful watercolours.
What has helped Red Bull House of Art produce such a vibrant and constantly evolving body of work is the access the public have been granted to the artists and their visions. Since the very first dip into the palate, art lovers have been invited to the ‘transition rooms’ on the 10th and 11th floors of the Sampaio Moreira.
Further treats for the visitors came in the form of special series of talks held at Red Bull House of Art. First up there was philosophy professor Vladimir Safatle, then came gallery owner Baixo Ribeiro, artist Marilá Dardot and finally art critic Fernando Oliva.
While ‘Notes about a process’ continues the next group of six artists is currently being selected by Red Bull House of Art curator Luisa Duarte. Later this year the second set of Paulistanos and Paulistanas will have their chance to exhibit as Red Bull House of Art continues to remould the oldest skyscraper in São Paulo from top to bottom.