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Sifang Art Museum is honored to announce the first major museum solo exhibition in China of the Brazilian artist Marina Perez Simão, Observatory. The exhibition is curated by Diana Campbell and will run from November 5, 2021 to February 27, 2022.

In addition to supporting the development of contemporary art in China, Sifang Art Museum is also committed to bringing cutting-edge art creations from around the world to Nanjing, to promote dialogue and understanding among cultures and people. In this particular era of isolation and division fostered by the pandemic, encounters with the distant become even more important. The museum hopes that Simão’s mysterious, vibrant and poetic works will bring warmth and enlightenment from the most distant reaches of the imagination to this still unsettled autumn.

Simão’s paintings take us into seductive thresholds of an alien world, spiraling through the outer limits of expression into forcefields where colors seem to become verbs and where lines vibrate with a musical resonance. She transfigures tonality by using hot and cold hues that create an unexpected contrast in color palette that evoke and hold light in unusual ways, almost like lanterns. What colors might emerge from the glowing fogbanks of color suffusing in yet-to-be-discovered atmospheres in far-off extraterrestrial landscapes? Her paintings open up possibilities for new states of matter beyond known solids, liquids, gases, and plasmas. This exhibition transforms Sifang Art Museum into an observatory to imagine the universe from a myriad of perspectives and vantage points through the interplay of Simão’s paintings and Steven Holl’s architecture, leading visitors on a journey to consider the interiors and exteriors framed by Holl in new ways. Both Simão and Holl make us question our sense of perspective; Simão even posits that we could all be upside down, for all we know.

Simão is fascinated by the possibility of experiencing both day and night at the same time, such as when astronauts see lustrous levitating orbs emerging like islands from a pitch-black sky. Many of her paintings include multiple suns and moons on the same plane and expand with countless horizon lines that dissolve the twilight zone—that moving line that divides the warm daylight and the cold dark night of a planetary body.

Simão’s work unleashes gravity’s reductive grip on our imagination, drawing us into the powerful potentiality of her charged, vulnerable spaces that we read as landscapes. While the artist studied painting in Brazil and France, the composition of her paintings holds much in common with traditional Chinese landscape painting in the sense that it refutes singular perspective in favor of axonometry, where the focus can be anywhere and nowhere and does not assume a fixed position of the viewer. Like Shanshui, Simão’s paintings do not depict landscapes that are seen in nature, but rather combine mountain and water elements to evoke a feeling of imagining a landscape with a multitude of meandering paths that are never straight lines.

Simão’s process is to build up the structure of her paintings in meticulously and mathematically ordered watercolor studies. However, it is the divergence from her plan and the way that a painting evades her control that is key to her letting it leave her studio; the painting must exceed what she previously held in her imagination. In a world where we are supposed to know everything through the touch of a screen, the artist tries to conjure the exhilarating feelings of wonder, awe, and marvel that come with experiencing a sense of being that was previously unthinkable.

The exhibition is organized by Sifang Art Museum, whose team thanks the artist, the curator, Mendes Wood DM, Nanjing Pukou Culture & Tourism Development Group, Sifang Cultural Group, and all partners who have helped and supported the exhibition in this uncertain “post-pandemic era”.

Sifang Art Museum

Pukou District

No. 9 Zhenqi Road

210031 Nanjing, China


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