Palais de Tokyo, Paris
June 21 – September 9, 2013
13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris
+33 1 49 52 02 04
http://palaisdetokyo.com

In the form of paintings, sculptures or installations, the hybrid art of Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira (b. 1973) evokes both the urban and the vegetable, the organic and the structural, as well as art and science, through compositions in which the unexpected generates a universe tinted with the fantastic.

Through a kind of architectural anthropomorphism, Oliveira reveals a building’s structure. At Palais de Tokyo, he plays on the space’s existing and structuring features, prolonging and multiplying pillars in order to endow them with a vegetable and organic dimension, as though the building were coming alive. The artist draws inspiration from medical textbooks, amongst others, and particularly from studies of physical pathologies such as tumors. Through a formal analogy, these outgrowths evoke the outermost layers of the bark of a common tree. The texture of this wooden tapumes installation inevitably calls to mind certain tree essences from Amazonian, humid tropical forests: the rivulets and other nodes constitute uncontrollable networks, in a logic that Man can no longer suppress.

Creating a spectacular and invasive Gordian Knot, Oliveira plays with Palais de Tokyo’s architecture, allowing a work that combines the vegetal and the organic to emerge. The building itself becomes the womb that produces this volume of “tapumes” wood, a material used in Brazilian towns to construct the wooden palisades that surround construction sites.