Polymath Flávio de Carvalho and Outsider Artist Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato at S2 London

Launch Slideshow

From 12 April to 24 May, S|2 London will present the first UK exhibition of the influential Brazilian artist Flávio de Carvalho. Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1899, Flávio de Carvalho was a painter, sculptor, architect, scenographer, designer, journalist, writer and playwright. In Gallery Two there will be an exhibition of paintings by Brazilian artist Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato. Born in 1900, Lorenzato was a largely self-taught, outsider artist whose richly textured and intimate paintings portray observations of everyday life. Click the image above to view the slideshow.

Polymath Flávio de Carvalho and Outsider Artist Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato at S2 London

  • Flávio de Carvalho, Portrait of Architect and Painter Carlos Prado, 1933
    Throughout his career, Flávio de Carvalho created an extensive portrait collection depicting his wide intellectual network that he maintained over the years. Portrait of Architect and Painter Carlos Prado portrays one of Carvalho’s close intellectual friends with whom he shared his studio and founded the Modern Artists’ Club with, alongside other painters like Antonio Gomide and Di Cavalcanti. The Modern Artists' Club aimed to promote a series of avant-garde activities and ideas. Coincidentally, Carlos Prado and Flávio de Carvalho both worked across painting and architecture which perhaps explains their early cooperation in forming an artistic group.

    This portrait was exhibited in Carvalho’s first solo exhibition in 1934 along with a selection of other paintings, drawings and sculptures that drew upon expressionist and surrealist tendencies. In the same decade that this work was exhibited, Carvalho was regarded as the most celebrated cultural producer in São Paulo.
  • Flávio de Carvalho, Figure of a Man – Portrait of Wilfred R. Bion, 1973
    Flávio de Carvalho’s artworks earned him recognition as a painter almost exclusively devoted to rendering portraits and nudes, incorporating a personal combination of Surrealist and Expressionist accents, which partly emerged from his fascination of Freudian ideas and psychoanalysis at large.

    His interests in this particular field of work can be seen through his portrait paintings of various influential Psychologists, such as Figure of a Man – Portrait of Wilfred R. Bion. Wilfred R. Bion is considered by some as ‘the greatest psychoanalytic thinker...after Freud’. He became the president of the British Psychoanalytical Society in 1960s and the first person to analyse patients in psychotic states using unmodified analytic techniques. Interestingly, this portrait was in the collection of fellow Psychologist Frank Julian Phillips, who Flávio de Carvalho also painted. The two portraits were exhibited together, as they are now at S│2, at the 1983 São Paulo Bienal, when Carvalho’s artwork was being re-assessed.
  • Flávio de Carvalho, Player, 1972
    Flávio de Carvalho was a multidisciplinary artist who often worked across very different creative fields of practice. While this wide array of work was one of the main criticisms he received from the more conservative audience of the time, Carvalho no doubt left a great deal of influence over all that he touched upon.

    Player was an outfit designed by Carvalho, combining his sense of experimental playfulness and innovative practicality, to accommodate the most popular sport of Brazil, football. What is seen here is a football ‘player’ with white painted legs making them visible during night-time games, as well as their shorts being replaced by skirts. The artist’s interest in fashion began very early in his career, and in 1952 his early designs considered the body’s need for ventilated clothing to prevent it from getting sticky with sweat. A few years later Carvalho first announced his ‘new look’, as an alternative to the suit for men working in Brazil’s hot climate. The ‘new look’ took the form of a short skirt and a blouse with bouffant sleeves containing gaps to help air circulation. He also introduced bare legs or fishnet hosiery, and sandals, elements of which are clearly seen in the present artwork.
  • Flávio de Carvalho, Cathedral Church of São Carlos do Pinhal, 1969
    First and foremost, Flávio de Carvalho is considered a pioneer of modern architecture in Brazil. For the São Paulo State Palace competition of 1927, the artist was the first ever to propose a modern architectural project in the whole of South America. However, despite his innovative designs Carvalho found himself often clashing with the conservative tendencies at Brazilian architectural competitions and struggled in this field for almost 12 years.

    His designs, however, did receive positive international attention and eventually he began to receive prizes in Brazil. The 17th São Paulo Bienal (1983), for example, featured the artist’s extensive documentation on his architectural projects and experiences alongside works in more traditional mediums. As seen in Carvalho’s Cathedral Church of São Carlos do Pinhal, it is clear the artist stepped away from the conventional architectural style of the time, even by today’s standards. He went as far as modernising a Catholic Cathedral, a religion he clashed with on occasion, to truly Modern style.
  • Flávio de Carvalho, Portrait of Maria Kareska, 1956
    Throughout his life Flávio de Carvalho painted many portraits of interesting individuals both from Brazil and beyond. These portraits represent his interest in various fields of practice, his intellectual contacts made over the years and his desire to experiment with different mediums and techniques.

    Portrait of Maria Kareska differs slightly from the artist’s usual body of work as it not only portrays his skill, but also sheds some light on his personal life. Maria Kareska was a Lithuanian-Brazilian soprano singer who performed internationally under one of the most important Brazilian composers of the 20th century, Heitor Villa-Lobos, as well as with the Orchestre National de France and the orchestra of the Canadian Broadcasting Company. The artist clearly emphasised the hands of the sitter, reflecting a common fashion found in most opera singers who use hand gestures as form of expression whilst performing. She was also the partner of Carvalho for many years, which might also provide some background for the artist’s interest in the theatre and its possibilities for expression and performance.
  • Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato, Untitled, 1983
    At age twenty while living in Italy, Lorenzato was exposed to architectural projects while working in various construction jobs. His interest in architectural forms are clearly seen through this painting. The clear-cut shapes of the buildings sit beneath a texturized blue sky creating depth and perspective.
  • Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato, Untitled, 1978
    In this 1978 painting, Lorenzato portrays a townscape reminiscent of his hometown; Belo Horizonte in Brazil, which is depicted in many of his works. The painting evokes the familiarity of the neighbourhood and also reflects the vestiges of everyday life with patterns created through the simplicity of clothes hanging out to dry. The technique of using everyday subject matter to create patterns that verge on abstract forms, is inherent in this body of work.
  • Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato, Untitled, 1993
    The intimate perspective of this 1993 painting allows for the forest-like representation to use every edge and corner of the canvas, encapsulating the viewer. The painting clearly remains a landscape, however Lorenzato’s use of objects to create patterns is particularly heightened in this work, illustrating a vivid representation of abstraction.
  • Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato, Untitled, 1981
    In this landscape painting, there is an interesting combination of linear planes. The layers of the work portray a perspective at large, revealing to us the vast expanse of nature that dominates the painting. Lorenzato’s use of simplistic forms creates a complex landscape with great profundity.
  • Amadeo Luciano Lorenzato, Untitled, 1991
    Reminiscent to modern viewers of Van Gogh’s sunflowers, with this painting Lorenzato celebrates everyday life. His representation of still life here, is bold in colour and texture, with the use of his handmade pigments. Lorenzato often used various experimental methods of applying paint, and this can be seen through the textures of his background colours, although his work remains largely flat, he incorporates subtle texture within his painted planes.

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