The Karla Osorio Gallery presents the exhibition “An Intense Dream,” the first solo show by artist Evandro Prado from Mato Grosso do Sul in the capital. The opening will take place on June 24th and the exhibition will be on display until August 20th, 2023.
About the exhibition
The exhibition brings together 23 artworks in techniques such as painting, drawing, and sculpture, with the theme of Brasília’s architecture. According to the critic Henrique Menezes, “the artist reveals the soul of Brasília with its beautiful forms emptied of the dream of its conception, cut out against a dense, heavy sky, as substantial as a circus tent. There, where the role of democracy is played, there is no longer a people or a nation. Democracy is merely a word, but the wrappers of corrupt, torn, patched-up powers remain proud as if dressed up for the grand liberal party. Evandro Prado, who has been exploring the confluence of politics and architecture over the past two decades, scrutinizes both through the clash between construction and collapse. With sensitivity, acuity, and without hiding his combative stance, Evandro has dedicated his production to the ills that we can label as national heritage, whether immaterial—in terms of the institutions of power and the hidden influence of the press—or assuming the most solid concreteness, embodied in our epic buildings or the numerous monuments that honor questionable figures.” The exhibition features 23 artworks in techniques such as painting, drawing, and sculpture, all revolving around the theme of Brasília’s architecture.
About the artist
Evandro Prado, an artist born in the Central-West region of the country, in Campo Grande (MS), works and lives in São Paulo. Not coincidentally, the appearance of the Central Plateau permeates his artistic production, and Brasília serves as an allegory to address the present-day Brazil. Mixing different periods, he travels back 60 years with images of construction, captures the current polarization, and fictionalizes a drifting platform. Iconic images undergoing deconstruction are recurrent in Evandro’s work, both in painting and other forms of expression—such as objects and installations—but painting is his most expressive medium.
Evandro Prado | An Intense Dream
Anticipating, at the exact moment of its genesis, the vocation and decline of any human creation is a task that requires, in equal measure, a warm premonitory imagination and a painful calculation of the possibilities of its failure. There is no doubt that every inventor places their bets on glory rather than obscurity. Considering the absence of clairvoyance—or its unproven effectiveness, so as not to challenge the esoteric—every novelty becomes an invitation to projection, speculation, and conjecture. Just over a century ago, there were few questions about the social effects of Henry Ford’s model for mass industrial production. Today, we discuss the universal ramifications of artificial intelligence and its relationship to the construction of metarealities for humanity.
Few are those who cheer for the glories of progress—with the same sincerity they confess their expectations of defeat. Oscar Niemeyer was one of them. I refer to two oil paintings on canvas that our master architect produced while living in Paris: little-known to the public, the two small works were named—without a hint of irony—”Ruins of Brasília.” As the title suggests, Niemeyer fantasized about a dystopian future for his project of the national capital, portraying in just over seventy centimeters a post-apocalyptic scenario where only anchor-shaped columns remain. The roof has collapsed, the ground has crumbled, and some of these pillars have already fallen. It is no coincidence that Oscar painted the Ruins in 1964, just four years after the city’s inauguration and shortly after the coup that annihilated the nation’s course: the news confirmed that the utopia of progress had turned to rubble.
All the elements we have traversed so far serve as a foundation for entering into the work of Evandro Prado, a artist from Mato Grosso do Sul who, over the past two decades, has been exploring the confluence of politics and architecture, both scrutinized through the confrontation between construction and collapse. With sensitivity, acuity, and without concealing his combative stance, Evandro has dedicated his production to the ills that we can label as national heritage, whether immaterial—in terms of the institutions of power and the hidden influence of the press—or assuming the most solid concreteness, embodied in our epic buildings or the numerous monuments that honor questionable figures.
A grand painting imposes itself in the exhibition space due to its apparent impossibility of existence: one of the unmistakable columns of the Palácio do Planalto hovers isolated in a desolate and inhospitable terrain, devoid of human references and supported by precarious sustaining strategies: a ladder, meager ropes, and fragile stakes. With an aura reminiscent of metaphysical painting in the 20th century—of which Giorgio de Chirico and Carlo Carrà are its exponents—the work holds more truth than fiction: the depicted scene actually existed, referring to when Niemeyer demanded the construction of a full-scale prototype that would allow glimpsing and confirming the expected grandeur of his project. Contrary to gravity, this temporary scenography was erected and positioned at the exact location of its implantation, counting on the skill of sensitive calculators predisposed to reconcile the master’s intent with technical limitations. Niemeyer entered history by making the tacit divorce between architecture and construction disappear: rightly recognized, there are many thinkers who attribute the co-authorship of the famous pillars to Joaquim Cardozo—a poet, illustrator, and structural engineer who signed the calculations for Brasília.
Often, in attempting to describe Evandro Prado’s work, his role is associated with the image of a painter-architect, emphasizing his undeniable affinity for the features that give identity to the national urban landscape. I propose a different perspective, though not an exclusive one: Evandro’s work bears much more resemblance to the labor of an engineer, as the artist is not purely interested in ornamental styles or an iconography based on superficiality. His work is substantiated by an austere vocabulary, where calculation, construction, foundation, design, and structure are amalgamated in a semantic field close to the exact sciences—without abandoning the relevant artistic intentions inherent in an aesthetic-philosophical position of an architect.
Evandro Prado is an iconoclast who, at times, reveals his passionate—and paradoxical—devotion to forms, while also exalting the failure of constructions consumed by a (symbolically) corrosive effect. Tragedy is also a form of ecstasy: perhaps that is why Evandro’s entire body of work pays homage and offers condolences to the memory that underpins the imaginary of Brazil.