As the Venice Biennale draws near, Jonathas de Andrade, who is representing Brazil this year at the biennial, has joined a new gallery. Departing Vermelho, he will now be represented by Galeria Nara Roesler, which has exhibition spaces in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and New York. He will continue to work with Alexander and Bonin in New York and Galleria Continua, which has seven locations around the world, including Italy, Paris, and Beijing.
“He’s a unique example of a contemporary artist who is dealing with all mediums—moving images, photography, reproduction, installation—to bridge, as a critical tool, contemporary art with popular culture,” Luis Pérez-Oramas, the gallery’s artistic director, said in an interview. “That has a very high political significance today, not just in Brazil. The failing of modernity—of the modern project—in most Latin American nations has to do with the fact that modernity has been thought of against popular culture, as a way to overcome popular culture.”
The artist is perhaps best known for his 2016 film O Peixe, which debuted at that year’s Bienal de São Paulo and which has been shown around the world, including at the New Museum in New York and the NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Singapore. In it, de Andrade shows Brazilian fisherman embracing fish in a tender, almost ritualistic way intended to emphasize forms of care.
At the Biennale, for his Brazilian Pavilion curated by Jacopo Crivelli Visconti, de Andrade will present a new body of work under the title “Com o coração saindo pela boca” (With the heart coming out of the mouth). The artist “considers the many popular Brazilian expressions and idioms that reference the human body to express feelings, behaviors and ways of being in the world,” according to a press release. The show will be modeled after a school science fair and include a new video, sculptures, and photography.
Pérez-Oramas said, “Jonathas’s work comes from the nostalgia of modernism toward a very acute critique and deconstruction of the modern project through the insertion, in his work, of popular voices, communities, collective, and culture. The project he’s proposing for Venice is absolutely about that.”
In addition to the Brazilian Pavilion, this year, de Andrade will have a retrospective at the Estação Pinacoteca in São Paulo, curated by Ana Maria Maia, that will open in the fall and he is currently the subject a solo show at the Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam.
He has had major solo outings at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (in 2016), the Power Plant in Toronto (2017), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2019). His work has been included in several editions of the Bienal de São Paulo, as well as the 2014 Gwangju Biennale, the 2015 edition of Performa, the 2017 Sharjah Biennial, and the 2019 Istanbul Biennial.
Pérez-Oramas added, “He’s an artist who collects memories—or memorable events or ruins or leftovers or vestiges—and reshapes them in a way that he comes face to face with the language of contemporary art with these massive spontaneous and collective knowledge that can be generated from popular culture. He’s really at the forefront of one of the most urgent tasks for art today.”