Sikkema Jenkins & Co. is pleased to present PERHAPPINESS, a solo exhibition of paintings by Luiz Zerbini, on view at the gallery from April 28 through June 4, 2016. This is the artist’s first solo show at the gallery and his first solo exhibition in New York.
Luiz Zerbini has exhibited widely in Brazil, his native country, since the early 1980’s. For his solo debut in New York, the artist will present recent paintings as well as a group of mixed-media assemblages. As is evident in this exhibition, Zerbini works in distinct yet thematically related bodies of work, exploring juxtapositions between figuration and geometry, nature and architecture.
The Brazilian art critic and curator Luiz Camillo Osório has described Zerbini's painting as “…interfering in the architecture and reflecting the landscape…whether through the opacity of the color or the reflectivity of light. The borders between inside and outside, creation and appropriation, painting and the world, are in constant movement, mutually contaminating and enhancing each other's potential. In Zerbini's oeuvre we find these symbolical exchanges working in radical way, configuring a dispersion of style - at times a painter, at times a sculptor, or a musician, figurative or abstract - which is the frankest way of facing - and reflecting on - the dispersion of the contemporary regard, subject and world.”
Zerbini’s large-scale representative paintings, on view in the current exhibition, depict lush landscapes and interiors filled with assorted objects that the artist encounters in his everyday life including waves, rocks, plants, paintbrushes, cans, and cleaning rags, constructing layered scenes full of traces of life - visually chaotic yet precisely planned. The works, painted in strikingly bright colors, have hallucinatory qualities yet are also the result of a very rigorous procedure involving the exercise of gaze, collection and montage. Zerbini's work is broadly inspired by his surroundings like his own studio and neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro as well as by his travels around the Brazilian coast which has been a continuous source for artist’s landscape paintings since his early career.
The exhibition will also feature a large group of abstract grid paintings, and a selection of associated mixed media assemblages made from deconstructed 35mm slide frames. The grid paintings are a clear nod to the distinctive style of Brazilian modernism, particularly the country’s mid 20th century architecture. These multi-colored abstractions take inspiration from geometric shapes and angles, and the relation between light, shadow and color that these constructions engender, serving as inspiration for the infinite possibilities of the grid.
The exhibition’s title PERHAPPINESS comes from the one word poem by Paulo Leminsky, a renowed Brazilian poet from the 70's-80's. Zerbini was included in the seminal 1984 exhibition How are you doing? 80’s Generation (Como vai você, geração 80?), a cultural touchstone that gave an outlet to the country’s creative young voices. In 1995, Zerbini cofounded the noise band Chelpa Ferro with the artists Barrão and Sergio Mekler. Known as a group that makes “visual music.” They have exhibited and performed widely in Brazil, U.S., and Europe, and also represented Brazil at the 2005 Venice Biennial.
Luiz Zerbini, born in São Paulo in 1959, currently lives and works in Rio de Janeiro. Although he may be new to US audiences, he has produced a critically recognized body of work that is in the collection of many major Brazilian museums. He has presented his work in Biennials in São Paulo and Havana. Some of his notable recent solo exhibitions include Pinturas at Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro; Amor at Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim, Minas Gerais; and amor lugar comum at Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro.