Tropical Abstraction The colors and concepts of Beatriz Milhazes TASCHEN

January 26, 2018 by Laura Gomez


 

In her vibrant works, Brazilian painter Beatriz Milhazes fuses two very different ways of looking at the world. Her abstract compositions, which can be seen in a line with modernist masters from Henri Matisse to Bridget Riley, are drenched with the colors and light of her native country. Her paintings abound with signs of Brazil’s cultural roots and everyday life: carnival, folk art, and motifs from baroque to pop, all choreographed into an exuberant visual rhythm. Her chromatic contructions have an irresistible exotic allure, but, like in the work of Paul Gauguin, we find a broken paradise, where both the promises of life in the tropics and of modernist abstraction also a strike darker, more doubtful note.

To achieve this balance, Milhazes developed a special technique at the end of the 1980s, painting her motifs on sheets of plastic and gluing them onto the canvas when dried. This method allows the artist to layer surfaces and create an oscillating effect between glorious sheen and melancholy shimmer. Since her breakthrough in the early 1990s, Milhazes has branched out into other media, creating silk screens, collages of chocolate and candy wrappers and all sorts of papers, sculptures and installations that are like giant mobiles of carnival floats and props, site-specific projects that turn building façades into stained-glass windows, and explorations of the body and rhythm in collaboration with her sister Marcia’s dance company.

This Milhazes Art Edition is spectacular in every detail, presenting more than 280 artworks throughout all work phases and media. The book’s chapter breaks have also been created by the artist specifically for this book as painted collages with diverse papers and found objects. The images are complemented by a conversation with editor Hans Werner Holzwarth, in which Milhazes unravels her processes and discusses the ideas and cultural background behind her work. An art-historical essay by David Ebony, an extensive year-by-year artist biography by Luiza Interlenghi, and a poetic dictionary of key Milhazes motifs by Adriano Pedrosa round out this comprehensive volume.

 


 

This Art Edition comes with an exclusive work by Milhazes, a silk-screen print entitled Mango and Passion Fruit in Lilac and Violet. The artist has been working with the silk-screen technique since 1996, experimenting with the specific possibilities it offers, and in this print she uses 34 different colors to stunning effect. She intercuts strong squares with several layers of patterns, waves, and wheels in abstract forms that still evoke the nature themes suggested by the work’s title. In the artist’s own words: “I am seeking geometrical structures, but with freedom of form and imagery taken from different worlds.”

Art Edition (No. 1–100), with the silk-screen print Mango and Passion Fruit in Lilac and Violet, each numbered and signed by Beatriz Milhazes.

Beatriz Milhazes. Art Edition
Edition of 100 copies
Hans Werner Holzwarth
Hardcover volume in clamshell box, 33 x 44 cm, 480 pages, with silk-screen print “Mango and Passion Fruit in Lilac and Violet,” 50 x 55.5 cm

ISBN 978-3-8365-4967-7
Multilingual Edition: English, French, German, Portuguese

Beatriz Milhazes. Art Edition
Edition of 100 copies
Price: € 3,600

Copyright: Taschen