Thursday, 15 September 2011
Spotting the Havainas in Brazilian art
As I stood admiring one of Luiz Zerbini’s huge paintings at the private viewing of his UK debut at the Max Wigram Gallery, I heard a lady next to me say in Portuguese: “Let’s play a game. Who will be the first to spot…. A red fish!” I looked over to find her talking to two little girls. “Me! I found it,” said one of them, rightly pointing to a red fish among the foliage, geometric block prints and a loose light bulb. “Now, who can find…. A Havaiana flip flop?” It takes longer this time, but eventually the older girl spots it (not before I do, though…).
Games aside, I liked Luiz’ work. Maybe because they were so large, people lingered in front of the paintings longer than they might normally do, and the juxtaposition of colourful landscapes fused with figurative painting certainly made you question the themes in each piece.
I spoke to Luiz about his work, but also about Brazilian art in general, as part of my feature for The Bulletin. I asked him if he thought it was possible to characterise Brazilian art. He said no. “Brazilian art is free,” he added.
The exhibition runs until October 1. If you’re in the West End, I’d recommend dropping by for a spot of Brazilian culture.