Frida Baranek is primarily known for large sculptural works that use industrial materials in a way that juxtapose the poetic with the need to confront. Baranek’s elevation of mean materials into monumental merit underlies a phenomenological artistic approach that derives from emotion morphing into an abstruse concept.
Her works on paper are an extension of the notion to draw with the material. By exploiting the curve into bold and delicate gestures, Baranek initiates questions about value, instability and identity. Baranek’s corporeal sculptural language displays a profound interplay between individual consciousness and social entropy.
This exhibition pivots around Colar, a colossal hanging sculpture that establishes a theatrical dialogue between strength and delicate gravity. Through the dichotomy between the massive steel coils at the apex and the delicate plaster necklace that emerges from it, Baranek explores a concentrated language of form, space and volume.
Bold, sensuous organic curves remain the leitmotif in the surrounding works on paper – most dramatically represented in Ochre Swirls, a monolithic, delirious tour de force that offers fluid surprises and scrutinizes the malleability of vision.
Baranek’s technical prowess is evident in Rust Silence where the artist employs bold mark making on rough patina primed with the rust of earlier sculptural works thus pushing the boundaries of the medium.
There is a unifying organic quality present throughout this exhibition, evident in works like Unknowing Wire and Gesso – fragile assemblages of wires, mesh and hand-made paper whose images fail to convey their fragility.
Baranek’s newer works investigate the juxtaposition of the sensual and the practical. In Diluviamente the artist’s neo-preoccupation with glass mikado sticks is revealed through assertive geometric gestures that pierce through clouds of looping coils printed on delicate silk.
– Francesca Bellini –
Frida Baranek studied architecture at the Universidade Santa Úrsula in Rio de Janeiro and received a Masters degree in Industrial Design from Central Saint Martin University in London. Her work was included in the 49th Venice Biennial (1990), the Latin American Artists of the 20th Century exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1993), the 20th São Paulo International Biennial (1989), the Metropolis International Art Exhibition in Berlin (1991), and the Discover Brazil exhibition at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne (2005). The artist was most recently the subject of an important mid-career survey at the Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro (2013/14).
Frida Baranek’s work is held in several important public collections such as the at the Museum of Modern Art (Rio de Janeiro), the Museum of Modern Art (São Paulo), the National Museum of Women in the Arts (Washington D.C.), the LEF Foundation (San Francisco), the Washington University Art Museum (St. Louis), the Loumeier Foundation (St. Louis.), the Ministère de la Culture (Paris), the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain (Paris), the Pusan Metropolitan Art Museum (South Korea) as well as in numerous seminal private art collections.
Frida Baranek will be the subject of a book by Francisco Alves due to be published by the end of 2014. She lives and works in London.