ArtRio, Rio de Janeiro’s first contemporary art fair, may only be in its fourth year, but it is already influencing the local perception of art. “People here think art is too expensive or too academic,” says fair director and founder Brenda Valansi, who chose a waterfront location on the picturesque Guanabara Bay to make the event more accessible to the community. “A thriving community is vital to a healthy art market, so it became our responsibility to change this.” Valansi and her partners have also put an emphasis on education and accessibility by implementing free programming year round. “The actual fair happens only one time per year, but ArtRio is 365 days year,” she says. The rewards of their efforts can be accounted for by the city’s burgeoning gallery scene, high attendance rates at art events, and, perhaps most importantly, the fair’s welcoming atmosphere— refreshing, if not alien, for a white cube affair. Here are five of this year’s standout artists.
Rogério Reis at While Rio-based photographer Rogerio Reis’s new series, “Nobody is Nobody,” brings to mind John Baldessari’s abstract geometries, his work is actually inspired by the slippery notions of privacy and identity in an age of social media. “His work captures the city in a way that is relevant today says Bruno Veiga, who co-founded the photography gallery with fellow photographer Ana Stewart in 2009. “This series in particular was motivated by an experience he had with one of his anonymous subjects trying to seek legal action against him. Here he plays with that concept.” Galeria da Gávea in Rio de Janeiro
Courtesy of the gallery.
Maíra das Neves and Pedro Victor Brandão at Portas Vilaseca Galeria in Rio de Janeiro
Artists Maíra das Neves and Pedro Victor Brandão merge art and technology in their latest community-driven project, The Pit. The artists designed a cryptocurrency mine, enabling them to search the Internet for “loose change.” The money they find, about $7 a day, will be put toward renovating decaying facades throughout the city. “It’s a financial sculpture that is suppose to bring in alternative funding that’s neither private nor public,” Brandão says.
Courtesy of artists.
Vik Muniz at Galeria Nara Roesler in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro
One of Brazil’s best-known artists, Vik Muniz continually blurs the line between photograph and collage. His newest series, “Albums and Postcards from Nowhere,” explores the effects of digital photography on how we generate and store memories. Created from hundreds of found family photos, Muniz’s oversized works look like collage from afar, but a glossy print up close. “Vik likes these moments of confusion, where the past and the present are muddled,” explains gallery director Alexandre Roesler.
Courtesy of gallery.
Vivian Caccuri at Progetti Gallery in Rio de Janeiro
Vivian Caccuri transforms found materials, like industrial tarps and pipes, into sculptural instruments — revealing the musicality in the countless construction sites that riddle this rapidly growing country. “There’s a certain magic to it,” says gallery director Paola Colacurcio of Caccuri’s work. “She is able to weave many references into something pleasurable.”
Alexandre Mazza at Luciana Caravello Arte Contemporânea in Rio de Janeiro
Multi-media artist Alexandre Mazza is a romantic. His work, which ranges from simple marble sculptures to surrealist video art, acts as a vehicle for his philosophical provocations and celebrations of nature. Snatched up within the first hours of the fair, Mazza’s haunting animated triptych served as an eye-catching centerpiece for
Luciana Caravello Arte Contemporânea’s booth. The screens depict a trio of characters— a boxer, a tree and a ballerina—who act as each other’s counterweights. “The tree is rooted, it doesn’t move. The other two are in constant motion,” explains Mazza. “This is how love is, we are always falling in and out of it, but we always find shelter in nature. It’s a constant.”
Courtesy of gallery.