Exhibition “Radical Women” presents 23 Brazilian artists

The Brooklyn Museum opens today, April 13, the exhibition Radical Women: Latin American Art 1960-1985, that explores the contributions of Latin American women artists in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s, a period of profound political and social turmoil in the region, marked by dictatorship and civil war.

The exhibition focuses on the notion of the political body, as the artists represented experienced radical artistic investigations in performance, photography, video and conceptual art in response to the struggles of their time. “These are works of art in radical language, exploring the extremes of art or working in extreme political and social conditions”, summarizes Andrea Giunta, one of the curators.

Radical Women features more than 260 works by more than 120 artists working in 15 countries. Brazil is the country with the largest number of artists – 23 in total – and a constant presence throughout the galleries. Below, some of the highlights.


Carmela Gros – Presunto, 1968. This is a large sculpture stuffed with wool and covered with fabric whose color suggests meat or flesh, therefore the tile “Presunto” which in Portuguese is also slang for the dead bodies that would appear on the streets during the violent years of the Brazilian dictatorship.

Lygia Pape – O Ovo, 1967.  In this installation, a participant would enter a cube made of wood boards and colored plastic film and push to the outside, simulating the act of being born. “You are trapped inside, covered by a sort of membrane; when you push on it with your hand, the membrane starts to give and suddenly tears, and so you are born”, says Pape. This video performance shows the artist’s first engagement with the interactive installation.


Vera Chaves Barcellos – Epidermic Scapes, 1982. This artwork consists of thirty printed images of body parts enlarged to abstraction.  The images were created by applying black ink to the skin before making impressions in tracing paper. The monumental arrangements of the final photographic prints are displayed on the floor, suggesting terrestrial landscapes.  The artist describes it as epidermic landscapes.

Lenora de Barros – Homenagem a George Segal, 1984. This is the artist’s first videoperformance, inspired by work of  the north-American sculptor, George Segal.  Looking at the camera, the artist brushes her teeth until the toothpaste covers her entire face and head, a look that reminds the solitary cast figures created by Segal.


Martha Araújo – Photographic Documetation of the Performance Hábito/Habitante, 1985. The artist has created what she called “performatic objects”, wereable textile pieces that invited public participation, combining performance and sculpture.  The works focuses on the limits of the body, the play between repression and freedom and the relationship between the self and the other.


Analivia Cordeiro, Cambiantes, 1976. This is considered the first work of video art produced in Brazil that combines dance and technology, in which the performers move within a high contrast black and white matrix.  The fragmenting of bodies, as well as the rigid soundtrack voiced a critique of Brazil’s repressive military dictatorship.


Claudia Andujar, – Marcados, 1981/1983. The photographer engaged in a vaccination campaign of the indigenous Ianomami , documenting the immunized members of the tribe wearing identification numbers . Andujar, whose father died in a Nazi concentration cam, was struck by the parallel between the plight of Jews and that of indigenous people in at-risk communities.






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