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No One would have believed: Alvim Corrêa and 10 contemporary artists

04 Dec 2021
11 Apr 2022

At Pinacoteca, works by Alvim Corrêa dialogue with contemporary art to reflect on colonialism, war, violence, fear, and desire

In addition to the works of Alvim Corrêa, a Brazilian who became notorious for illustrating the classic The War of the Worlds at the beginning of the 20th century, works by 10 other contemporary artists are part of the exhibition  

From 12.04.2021 to 04.11.2022

Pinacoteca de São Paulo, a museum of the Culture and Creative Economy Department of the State of São Paulo, opens the exhibition No One would have believed: Alvim Corrêa and 10 contemporary artists. The exhibition explores themes common to science fiction pieces, such as alien invasions, by showing Corrêa’s illustrations for the famous book The War of the Worlds, by Herbert George Wells, which radically influenced everyone’s imagination regarding the extraterrestrial and of the war between humans and aliens. The selection of works proposes a parallel between Corrêa’s fantastic and dark visions and the imagination of contemporary art, and expands the discussion to aspects that permeates history, such as colonialism, war, violence, prejudice, fear, and desire. 

Curated by Fernanda Pitta and Laurens Dhaenens, the exhibition is a result of the Pinacoteca’s partnership with Netwerk Aalst, from Belgium. The selection of 43 works by Alvim Corrêa, Alex Cerveny, Cabelo, Denilson Baniwa, Fernando Gutiérrez Huanchaco, Guerreiro do Divino Amor, Ilê Sartuzi, Luiz Roque, Rivane Neuenschwander, Runo Lagomarsino and Wendy Morris highlights the complex relationship between humanity, new technologies, and nature. It is important to note that the untitled work (2012), by the artist Cabelo, made of neon and velvet, present at the exhibition is one of 16 recent acquisitions made by the Pinacoteca de São Paulo in November 2021, through the Patrons program. 

Alvim Corrêa (Rio de Janeiro, 1876 – Brussels, 1910) has had a brief career. He died at a young age, and most of his work was lost in a shipwreck. The culmination of his trajectory were the illustrations in the famous French edition, from 1906, of the book The War of the Worlds, by Herbert George Wells, which narrates a Martian invasion on Earth. It is not known for sure how Alvim Corrêa came to know the work, but, according to Wells’ own reports, Alvim, fascinated by the story, produced a series of illustrations and went to England to visit him to show the drawings. The Brazilian’s initiative worked and resulted in a luxury edition of 500 copies with 32 illustrations on yellow couché paper and 105 illustrations, 42 of which were published as detachable engravings in the book. At the exhibition, visitors will be able to see a copy of this publication in French, recent Brazilian editions from 2016 and 2017, as well as a projection of the engravings that highlight its pioneer nature of a cinematographic imaginary. 
Rare studies of the artist will also be exhibited. They belong to the Alexandre Eulálio collection, from CEDAE Unicamp, a literary critic who was largely responsible for the dissemination of the artist’s work in Brazil, along with José Roberto Teixeira Leite and Pietro Maria Bardi. Invitations to exhibitions organized by Eulálio and Bardi, a poster for the book The War of the Worlds, as well as photos by Corrêa, complete the documentary selection. The collection of works also includes 11 erotic drawings from the series Visions Érotiques that Corrêa published in the early 20th century under the pseudonym Henri Lemort. 

In the exhibition, the vision of ten contemporary artists is put in dialogue with Alvim Corrêa’s drawings, paintings and illustrations. Corrêa’s works lead to reflection on exploration and struggles, on fear and desire for the fictional and fantastic realms, on human beings against the Martians or monstrous beings arising from our own imagination. Contemporary pieces also explore those topics through different approaches to fiction, fantasy and imagination, the background for Wells’ story. 

Sartuzi, Neuenschwander and Lagomarsino, for example, present unusual figures in their work aiming to explore the human feelings of repulsion and attraction for the different, in addition to violence, fear, and prejudice. On the other hand, Cabelo features drawings and a neon piece in which he works with narratives and images of fantastic beings that populate his imagination. Cerveny also explores imaginary beings and the stars, in illustrations made for poems in the book Vejam como eu sei escrever, by José Paulo Paes, that belongs to the Pinacoteca’s collection. Copies of the Bible, Manual for Talking to God (2018-2021), believed to have been transmitted by extraterrestrial beings to Latin Americans, transcribed and illustrated by Peruvian artist Fernando Gutierrez Huanchaco, will be available to the public at the exhibition. 


The exhibition also features the video Zero (2019), by Luiz Roque, which presents dystopia in a script that considers extinction and a post-human world. Also part of the curatorship is the work of artist Wendy Morris, from Namibia, who presents an unprecedented installation based on her research on the relationship between colonialism, enslavement, feminism, and resistance. It also includes two unpublished video pieces: Kopheneue (2021), by Denilson Baniwa, e Study for Superfictional Diagram: Switzerland vs Amazon, a supernutricional war (2021), by Guerreiro do Divino Amor. These works bring to light a very current general and apocalyptic war, and the degradation of the environment and the traditional cultures that preserve it. 



The exhibition No One would have believed:: Alvim Corrêa and 10 contemporary artists is accompanied with a richly illustrated catalogue, including a text by curators Fernanda Pitta and Laurens Dhaenens, an essay by Dhaenens and texts by contemporary artists Denilson Baniwa and Wendy Morris, who also have works in the exhibition. The publication has 80 pages and is available in the museum’s physical and online stores. 



No One would have believed:: Alvim Corrêa and 10 contemporary 
Curatorship: Fernanda Pitta e Laurens Dhaenens
Artists: Alvim Corrêa , Alex Cerveny, Cabelo, Denilson Baniwa, Fernando Gutiérrez Huanchaco, Guerreiro do Divino Amor, Ilê Sartuzi, Luiz Roque, Rivane Neuenschwander, Runo Lagomarsino, and Wendy Morris.

From 12.04.2021 to 04.11.2022

From Wednesday to Monday, from 10AM to 6PM
Admission tickets are booked and purchased through the Pinacoteca website. 

On Saturdays, admission is free, but must be booked in advance through the website. 

Pina Luz Building
Praça da Luz 2, São Paulo, SP