Brazilian artist Tonico Lemos Auad is to have his first solo exhibition for a UK public gallery, responds to the natural environment and architecture of De La Warr Pavilion. Inspired by the sea, coast and gardening, Auad draws together recent sculptural works with a new commission that explores ideas around faith, resistance, mending and repairing, and the endeavour to overcome adversity. Auad disregards material value to create expressive, often transient forms using a wide range of materials, from the ephemeral and everyday to the precious and enduring. Notions of luck, traditional anecdotes, chance, and the supernatural pervade a practice that is a also a darker exploration of existence, the brevity of life and nearness of death.
At De La Warr Pavilion, Auad presents several recent works that are poetic playful interventions on the floor and walls, and suspended from the ceiling. ‘Seven Seahorses’ (2013), a hanging work in seven parts made from linen, is followed by a series of small sculptures, ‘In the wave-strike over unquiet stones’ (2012). Made from dense sea chalk, they are threaded with delicate yellow and white gold and silver lettering, and distinguished by titles referencing Pablo Neruda’s poetry. In ‘Small Fires’ (2015), 150 tin cans arranged across the floor form micro landscapes, their surfaces mostly scratched away leaving colourful motifs depicting miniature palm groves, icebergs, animals, fruit and flowers, and other natural environments.
Auad’s new commission for De La Warr Pavilion stems from his fascination with gardening and how it can activate social interactions and trigger acts of sharing, negotiating, healing and exchange. Containing a plant bed sculpture, the work is an open installation inside the exhibition, offering a flexible space for talks by gardening specialists and interactions with the public.
In 2011 Auad was commissioned by Folkestone Triennial to produce Carrancas, a series of several sculptures inspired by Brazilian boat figureheads situated around the harbour; and in 2006 featured in the British Art Show. He has exhibited internationally and has work in many major collections.
Tonico Lemos Auad was born in 1968 in Belém, capital of Pará in northern Brazil. He lives and works in London, England. Recent and major solo exhibitions include; Tonico Lemos Auad, Pivô, São Paulo, Brazil (2015), Paisagem Noturna, Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo, Brazil (2013); Tonico Lemos Auad, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2012-2013); Figa, CRG Gallery, New York, USA (2012); Sleep Walkers, Centro Cultural São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2011); Epílogo, Zapopan Museum, Zapopan, Mexico (2010); Mouth, Ears, Eyes…Just like us, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2009); Silent Singing, CRG Gallery, New York, USA (2008); Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, Colorado, USA (2007).
Recent group exhibitions include; Drawing Biennale, The Drawing Room, London, UK (2015), Warp and woof, The Hole, New York, USA (2014), A Sense of Things, Zabludowicz Collection, London, England (2014); Threaded Stories, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2013); 3am: Wonder, Paranoia and the Restless Night, Bluecoat, Liverpool; Chapter, Cardiff, Wales; The Exchange, Penzance, Cornwall; and Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, UK; Site: Place of Memories, Spaces with Potential, Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art, Hiroshima, Japan (2013); Labour and Wait, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, California, USA (2013); Além da Vanguarda, Bienal Naifs do Brasil, SESC Piracicaba, São Paulo (2012); Mythologies, Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2011); and Undone: Making and Unmaking in Contemporary Sculpture, Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, UK (2010). His work is included in the public collections of the British Friends of the Arts Museums of Israel, Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, New York, USA; San Diego Museum of Art, California, USA; The West Collection, Pennsylvania, USA, Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK.
TONICO LEMOS AUAD | DE LA WARR PAVILION: 30 January – 10 April 2016