LINA BO BARDI: TUPÍ OR NOT TUPÍ (Fundación Juan March)
LINA BO BARDI:
TUPÍ OR NOT TUPÍ
FUNDACIÓN JUAN MARCH
OCT 05 2018 - JAN 13 2019
The exhibition differed from previous shows on Bo Bardi, instead of focusing on her work primarily as an architect, the exhibition gave equal attention to other facets of her work, such as theatre, scenography and design among others. Some of Bo Bardi’s most famous furniture pieces such as her “zig-zag” armchair were on display. Such pieces have also been exhibited by Side Gallery in their group exhibitions Brazilian design both in edition I & II. Other mediums on display were drawings and costums by the multi-faceted architect.
The exhibition illustrated how Bo Bardi’s life interests and hobbies shaped her architecture, not vice a versa. In order to recreate and understand Bo Bardi’s inspiration, the idea was to show her works amongst the works of other artists -famous, anonyms and indigenous -, the popular artists of Brazil that the activist fell in love with. This authentic art, Bo Bardi drew attention to. Before her, indigenous or “popular” local art was not appreciated, in essence, Lina helped Brazilians discover the importance of their own popular art and culture. She was one of the most important cultural activists of her time, contributing greatly to the creation of the Bahianan culture, which inspired the Tropicalist movement and led to socio and cultural changes in the area.
The exhibition's subtitle is part of the phrase "Tupí or not Tupí, that is the question" which appears in the Cannibalist Manifesto by Oswald de Andrade (1928) and is a classic example of the appropriation of the famous quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
"Before her, indigenous or “popular” local art was not appreciated, in essence, Lina helped Brazilians discover the importance of their own popular art and culture"
The so-called Brazilian "Cannibalism" of the 1920s, aspired to the consumption, absorption, assimilation and rethinking of European culture. As a result, artists in Brazil progressed in a movement that encompassed cultural change and that would bring into being a modern national identity, whilst maintaining an authentically Brazilian language.
Aware that Cannibalism lay at the base of the Tropicalist movement of the 1960s (with which she herself partly sympathised), Lina Bo Bardi embodied a type of reverse Cannibalism. For the arquitect, the Old World from which she came also had to be transformed through the gaze of the New World in which she lived in order to give rise to a new society: a type of "aristocracy of the people" (in her own words), a new people who would be a mixture of the European, the Amerindian, the black and the indigenous peoples of the north-east of the country: a world filled with dreams for a better future.
The exhibition is conceived as the continuation of the one that the Fundación Juan March devoted to Tarsila do Amaral (2009), which focused on Brazil in the 1920s and 1930s. Lina Bo Bardi shared Tarsila do Amaral's social concerns and strove to find solutions to them, moving onto action through the architecture, objects and collective acts which articulate her work. The aim of Lina Bo Bardi: tupí or not tupí. Brazil, 1946-1992 is to present this arquitect from the three most important geographical points of her activity (São Paulo, Salvador and north-east Brazil) and through her work and that of some of her contemporaries to "recount" the artistic and cultural scene in Brazil in the second half of the 20thth century.