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When Lives Become Form

Museum of Contemporary Art MOT, Tokyo

Contemporary Brazilian Art: 1960-present. The exhibition introduces Brazil's creative vitality through the works of 27 artists, fashion designers, and architects. "Being alive is art itself" Helio Oiticica's thinking as such has lived on continuously in many artists since the late 1990s. Such artists have attempted to reinterpret the local vernacular with reference to the context of global culture, through their observations of everyday life. The show includes internationally active Japanese Brazilians and show commemorates the Centennial of Japanese Immigration to Brazil.

comunicato stampa

Brazil, a nation that absorbed a multitude of immigrants and forged a hybrid human culture, has captured the world’s attention. Perhaps most alluring is the art of Brazil, which celebrates life with vivid colors and dynamic organic and geometrical forms. Brazil is a society with no hierarchy of values, where everyone and everything is integrated, a society propelled from modern society by the energy to blend and transform in search of a different structure. This energy comes not from a dialectic process but from observation of life and the wisdom found there. In order to survive in the global chaos, the Brazilians have created an “alternative modernism” as a viable proposal for the 21st century.

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT) will introduce Brazil’s creative vitality through the works of 27 artists, fashion designers, and architects in an exhibition, When Lives Become Form. In the 1960s, an artistic movement arose in Brazil, “Tropicália,” which celebrated the “originality of the culture of people who live in the tropics.” Tropicália sought to escape the shadow of the West and create a uniquely Brazilian art culture. Its central figure, Hélio Oiticica, took inspiration from Brazilian favelas, “a product of fantastic improvisation in creating a ‘vital place’ for communicating not form so much as joy.” The Parangolés or wearable sculptures and pictures he created for samba dancers by combining colorful fabrics are perhaps symbolic of this. In the same period, Lina Bo Bardi fused modern architecture with local Brazilian conditions and reinterpreted architecture through her acute observation and understanding of the lives of local peop le. Bo Bardi can be considered the pioneer of programmed architecture.

“Being alive is art itself.” Oiticica’s thinking as such has lived on continuously in many artists since the late 1990s. Such artists have attempted to reinterpret the local vernacular with reference to the context of global culture, through their observations of everyday life. Marepe, who employs found objects in producing a festival-like transformation, is perhaps representative of this trend. Others include Beatriz Milhazes and osegemeos, who are producing new works especially for this exhibition. Milhazes creates colorful collages on glass façades, taking Rio’s tropical flowers, local patterns, and traditional designs as her motifs; while osgemeos, who embarked from street graffiti, now produce humorous fantasy paintings.

When Lives Become Form will feature works by these and other Brazilian artists and creators, including internationally active Japanese Brazilians. The exhibition commemorates the Centennial of Japanese Immigration to Brazil and “Japan-Brazil Year of Exchange.”

Featured artists and creators:
Lina Bo Bardi, Ruy Ohtake (2nd generation)*, assume vivid astro focus(avaf), Arthur Bispo do Rosário, Lygia Clark, Rogério Degaki (3rd generation)*, Lucia Koch, André Komatsu (3rd generation)*, Leonilson, Rubens Mano, Marepe, Cildo Meireles, Beatriz Milhazes, Giulianno Montijo, Vik Muniz, Ernesto Neto, Rivane Neuenschwander, Tomie Ohtake (1st generation)*, Hélio Oiticica, osgemeos, Lygia Pape, Mira Schendel, Ana Maria Tavares, Erika Verzutti, Isabela Capeto, Ronaldo Fraga, Jum Nakao (3rd generation)*.
* Japanese Brazilians

When Lives Become Form is curated by Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator, MOT and co-curated by Sachiko Namba, Assistant Curator, MOT.

A fully illustrated catalogue will be available in English and Japanese, published by Esquire Magazine Japan Co., Ltd. The catalogue will feature major essays by Yuko Hasegawa, Felipe Chaimovich (MAM SP), and Paulo Herkenhoff accompanied by short texts on aspects of Brazilian culture such as music and fashion.

The exhibitions official site:

Two additional exhibitions devoted to Brazil will furthermore be held in conjunction with this one: "Daido Moriyama and Miguel Rio Branco Photographic Exhibition" and "COLOR HUNTING IN BRAZIL – Dai Fujiwara + ISSEY MIYAKE Creative Room & Campana Brothers."

Daido Moriyama and Miguel Rio Branco Photographic Exhibition
A Quiet Gaze, Echoing Worlds
As an event of the Japan-Brazil Year of Exchange, which marks the centennial of Japanese immigration to Brazil, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT) is employing photography as a medium of exchange between Brazil and Japan. MOT will hold an exhibition of works by Daido Moriyama and Miguel Rio Branco, a Brazil-based photographer affiliated with Magnum Photos. Daido Moriyama and Miguel Rio Branco share a passion for photographing the city and people who live there, while each having his own distinctive worldview. For this exhibition, Daido Moriyama has photographed São Paulo, and Miguel Rio Branco has photographed Tokyo. At the exhibition, their differing perspectives and cultural backgrounds will intersect and reveal aspects of Japan and Brazil heretofore unknown. Seeing how they transform the small, easily overlooked moments of everyday life into scenes of deep significance, we too will be drawn into an investigation of reality in contemporary life.

When Lives Become Form was organized by: Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo/Embassy of Brazil in Tokyo/Nikkei Inc.
Officialized Event of: Japan-Brazil Year of Exchange Organizing Commission/ Association for Corporate Support of the Arts, Japan
Supported by: Japan Arts Fund
Sponsored by: Nippon Steel Corporation/USIMINAS
With the Special Cooperation of: Museum of Modern Art-São Paulo(MAM-SP)
In Cooperation with: AIR FRANCE/Japan Airlines/Nakagawa Chemical, Inc./Eco Business Co. , Ltd./NEC Display Solutions, Ltd./ MTN by montana colors, ABMlabor/ H.P.FRANCE S.A./ Hewlett-Packard Japan, Ltd.
Under the patronage of: Nippon Television Network Corporation

Artist talks:
Lucia Koch / Beatriz Milhazes and others: October 22 (Wed) 18:00-20:00
Osgemeos: October 26 (Sun) 15:00-16:00

"When Lives Become Form"
Esquire Magazine Japan Co., Ltd.

Image: Helio Oiticica, Caetano Veloso with Parangolé P 4 cape 1, 1968. Photo: Unknown Courtesy: Projeto Helio Oiticica

For further information please contact Kaoru Naito, Press Office, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Japan. Call 81-(0)3-5245-1134/fax: 81-(0)3-5245-1141, Email

Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo (MOT)
4-1-1 Miyoshi, Koto-ku, Tokyo 135-0022 Japan
Closed on: Mondays (except November 3, 24, and January 12) and November 4, 25
Closed Year-end holidays: December 28; January 1
Opening Hours: 10:00-18:00(tickets available until 17:30)
Admission: Adults 1200yen / College & University Students 900yen / High School & Junior High School Students & Adults over 65 800yen

Oscar Niemeyer
dal 17/7/2015 al 11/10/2015

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