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The line as direction

15 Jun 2019
03 Feb 2020

Pinacoteca de São Paulo, museum of São Paulo State Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy presents, from June 15, 2019 to February 03, 2020, the exhibition A linha como direção [The line as direction], on the second floor of Pinacoteca Estação. Curated by the museum’s Research and Curatorial Department, the exhibit showcases 12 sculptures and embossments from the Pinacoteca’s collection. These artworks share the geometric element of line, which helps to create their spatiality, keeping in a direct or indirect way some of the questions proposed by constructivism in the early 20th century. The exhibition has been possible thanks to the Lei de Incentivo à Cultura.

Russian constructivists created in 1920 the Realistic Manifesto where they defended the “line as direction”. The group understood this geometric element not as its graphic representation, but as the direction of static forces and its rhythm in objects. They also pretended to put an end to the age-old prejudice of the impossibility of freeing volume from mass in an object. They proposed “to renounce to the concept of volume as a pictorial and plastic form of space” as well as “to the mass as a sculptural element”.

They took into account the engineering examples –rails, T-beams, arches, buttresses–, where material strength do not depend on the quantity of the mass used to withstand loads and tensions, the way in which space can be occupied and the empty spaces that can be generated.  They reflected on sculpture being away from the idea of mass as a sculptural element to proclaim –through new artistic values– lightness, transparency, kinetic rhythms, movement and dynamism.

The works in this exhibition are related to some of the issues put forward by the constructivist proposal. Macaparana and Joaquim Tenreiro, for instance, create volumes departing from the crossing of orthogonal and diagonal lines giving as a result weaves and lattices, which turn the flat shape of the line into three-dimensional, by bringing them closer and thickening them.

Willys de Castro and Luiz Hermano also work with the modulation of line, and through it they suggest successive or alternate volumes, occupying both filled and empty spaces, in kind of an effort to show that volume can be freed from mass, as stated by the constructivists. Sérvulo Esmeraldo play with our visual perception after transforming the line into a flat design and using colors to suggest filled and empty spaces.  On his part, Sérgio Sister, who is known by his paintings, also uses color as an element to emphasize the change of rhythm in the modulation of his embossed rectangular lines.

In this selection, curators have also included those artists who have shed new light on the constructivism generation.  Mari Yoshimoto uses the broken and rough lines of barbed wires to build perfect spheres. Ignez Turaza, Iole de Freitas y Erika Verzutti work on the concept of a line that does not pretend to delimit space or the forces that act in it. It is however associated to the manipulation of shapeless things. “These artists get their beauty exactly from this high-risk factor, this nearly-object status, which can be changed into object by desire and fantasy or that, potentially, it is kept forever as a draft in sort of vestige, remnant or memory”, concludes Fernanda Pitta, one of the Department curators.


Bené Fonteles (Bragança, PA, Brasil, 1953)
Erika Verzutti (São Paulo, SP, Brasil, 1971)
Iole de Freitas (Belo Horizonte, MG, Brasil, 1945)
Joaquim Tenreiro (Beira Alta, Portugal, 1906 – Itapira, São Paulo, SP, Brasil, 1992)
León Ferrari (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1920 – 2013)
Luiz Hermano (Preaoca, CE, Brasil, 1957)
Macaparana (Macaparana, PE, Brasil, 1952)
Mari Yoshimoto (Santa Rosa do Viterbo, SP, Brasil, 1931 – São Paulo, SP, Brasil, 1992)
Sérvulo Esmeraldo (Crato, CE, Brasil, 1929 – Fortaleza, CE, Brasil, 2017)
Willys de Castro (Uberlândia, MG, Brasil, 1926 – São Paulo, SP, Brasil, 1988)
Sérgio Sister (São Paulo, SP, Brasil, 1948)


Linha como direção [The line as direction]
Curated by the Museum’s Research and Curatorship Department
Dates and Opening hours: June 15, 2019 to February 03, 2020
Wednesday to Monday, 10 p.m. to 6 p.m. Closing time 6:00 p.m.
Pinacoteca_Estação – Largo General Osório, 66 – 2nd floor. Free entrance throughout the week.
Open Wi-Fi available
Wheelchair access