THE ARTISAN ARCHITECT 

 

 

To live in cities that are constantly growing, like São Paulo, means to coexist daily with demolitions and constructions. It is not by chance that many young contemporary Brazilian artists residents of this metropolis appropriate images and materials from the urbanite day-to-day in order to carry out their work.

 

Cities where it’s history and architectural past are not important, like what happens in São Paulo and in many other cities in the country, have been growing in a disorderly way. This leads to a loss of urban references from childhood, youth, from the past year and even from the week before. The city becomes different each day.

 

Andrey Zignnatto is part of this generation that coexists with the intense growth of cities. However, his experience working with his grandfather as a construction worker as a pre-adolescent in Jundiaí, allowed for a completely different view than the experience of urbanite passers-by or inhabitants.

 

The fact that he attended pottery shops to buy bricks, aligned with his interest in art, led Zignnatto to install his studio inside a pottery shop, experimenting with the material’s varied possibilities and processes of production. Above all, the living experience with the shop-workers’ day-to-day labor resulted in the series “Territórios Forjados,” and much of the production of this self-taught artist, which dominates his production.

 

The modular pieces used to construct the works in this exhibition conduct the audience to a formal reading of them, guided by Concretism. However, the way in which the sculptures are built is completely malleable and meets a geometric landscape of the city, leading us to reflect on its entrails, and on what the buildings that form it are made of.  

 

At gallery’s entrance, the piece “Manta” coats the building’s facade with bricks that form an organic entrance, reminding us of caves or other forms in nature. The artist appropriates man-made materials made from natural things, like the brick made from clay, searching for the closest form from nature and creating a clash between natural/artificial, or as the artist states:

 

 “ The human-being is the only product from nature that does not accommodate to it’s system, and is also not satisfied only by what is offered by nature, in a way that produces an increasingly artificial reality in order to satiate their yearnings and needs. The most diverse types of systems and constructions from every, and any society go through constant reconfigurations and updates, through exhaustive renovations thought of as consequential from its most novel demands. As a result of this dynamic process of evolution of the human-being and societies throughout time, we may consider that the world we live in today is actually, more than a mere work of chance, predominantly the result of a cultural construction.”

 

The same happens in the piece “Erosões” that occupies gallery’s main room in an asymmetric way, creating a certain optic and physical discomfort in the viewer. The bricks, cut by knife by the artist, create ‘natural’ forms in the modular and methodical construction of the bricks.

 

In the work “Manta #2,” Andrey obtains a lightness that haunts us. Built with small bricks, almost as if by magic, the work floats in space hung by nylon strings. It is not by chance that through his research the artist discovered that these small bricks were developed and produced mainly for their distribution to the faithful and religious institutions as a symbol of faith; the foundation in the construction of a community.

 

In this search of paradoxical situations, opposing, in between natural/artificial, light/heavy, rigid/malleable, force/smoothness, so discussed in sculpture, Zignnatto questions the forms created by man. But he also makes it so that the viewer reflects upon the urbanite environment and nature. Do we create cities from what we learn from nature, or from other political, cultural, and economic issues?

 

This series by Zignnatto takes us to reflect upon how some forms imposed by architects, engineers and politicians may and should be reconsidered. By using the same material that constructs square and modular buildings that result in monotonous gray cities, which have nothing to do with the forms in nature, he proposes a new way to see the city and the objects created by man.

 

 

Rejane Cintrão  [Março/2015]

Curator