Cecilia Brunson’s mission

Brasil Observer - Jul 14 2016

(Leia em Português)


Chilean curator is committed to boost modern and contemporary Brazilian art among the British public


By Ana Toledo

Cecilia Brunson, an independent curator and specialist in Latin American art, was born in Chile and worked most of his life in New York. Living in London since seven years ago, Cecilia is now committed to strengthen the connections between modern and contemporary Brazilian art and the United Kingdom. To fulfil her purpose, she is collaborating with Almeida and Dale Art Gallery, from São Paulo, Brazil, through a series of solo exhibitions of three Brazilian artists in Cecilia Brunson Projects, a space opened in the capital in 2013.


The first Brazilian to feature in the series was the pop artist Claudio Tozzi – whose works were also included in the exhibition “The World Goes Pop”, at the Tate Modern. Now, Cecilia Brunson Projects presents to the London audiences the Brazilian artist Alfredo Volpi, until the 29th of July. To close the show, the gallery will receive in the second half of this year works of Willys de Castro.

But the project doesn’t stop there. In addition to individual shows, Cecilia Brunson wants to show the works of these artists in other European countries. “It is very important for us because there is a kind of longevity in the work we produce,” said Cecilia in an interview with the Brasil Observer.


Your focus was always on Latin America and now you have a special mission in the UK. What is your relationship with Brazil now?

Brazil is always a very important reference for all of Latin America, as it has such a strong and unique history and how it’s built its aesthetic and modern art history. I always wanted to work with Brazil but I just never got around to do that until I have this opportunity with Almeida and Dale Art Gallery.


Where did the inspiration for the exhibitions come from?


There are two sides. On the one side is the possibility of doing the collaboration with somebody in Brazil. The other side is that when I moved to London I realised there were a lot of Brazilian artists represented by British galleries and also Tate Morden had a strong interested in Brazilian artist. They are big and very successfull, but equally in the 1960’s there was Guy Brett in the Signals Gallery, who gave visibility to Helio Oiticica, Lygia Clark, Mira Schendel and Sergio Camargo. They had the opportunity to show their work here. So there is a relationship with London. And in my case, for example, doing the Volpi exhibition, he is an artist that is so well known in Brazil but so very little known in the rest of world… He is such an important artist for the modern movement in Brazil. This is a reason why we called the curator Michael Asbury to really focus and work to try to create the current show. For us this is an incredible exhibition because it is important to show Volpi’s work abroad.


How does the partnership with Almeida and Dale gallery work?

They have a very good private collection. I look at their collection, see what they have and from their inventory I can create the next exhibition. It’s really wonderful, it’s a dream job, to be able to go to a fantastic group of historical and contemporary works and select incredible pieces. It’s an idea of collaboration because we are in it just to bring this sort of marvellous heritage to the UK. And it matches with our interest in Latin America.


What is the connection among the three exhibitions?

More than anything the core thread among them is basically to give visibility to an artist that has not been seen in the UK. So the public is not seeing the usual but things that they have never seen before, which is very challenging.


How has the public been reacting?

I think the public has been quite surprised, because the work is more like museum quality pieces. It’s very strange to find this work in a gallery that has only been running for two and a half years and is quite new to London. People are quite surprised to come in and see such an historical material in such small place in London. People have had an incredibly good reception because they are aware it’s normally only possible to see this work in Brazil.


How do you see the reception of Latin America art in London?

The reception is incredible positive. I think the strongest reception in London is the Brazilians, Colombians and Mexicans who have a lot of visibility. Each country could say it’s not enough but I think these have more visibility in major institutions than a lot of the rest of Latin America, which also makes a lot of sense because these three have been the strongest economies. There are a lot of galleries that represent these major figures. I think there is a lot of interest for Latin America and Brazil and you know these institutions are, it’s always difficult to schedule artists – curators are fighting for it. But it’s interesting because in that roller coaster of who is who and who we are going to put a show on, there is always a sort of Latin American arising. A lot of curators have made a massive difference because of these museum selections. As a gallery we also are fighting a little bit this battle for the representation.


Alfredo Volpi: At the Crossroads of Brazilian Modern Art

When: Until 29 July (Teusday to Friday, 2pm to 6pm)

Where: Cecilia Brunson Projects (Royal Oak Yard, Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3GD)

Info: www.ceciliabrunsonprojects.com

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