The Helga de Alvear Collection is currently one of Europe’s most important contemporary art exhibitions, based in Cáceres, Spain. As of June 25, 137 works brought together by the German collector will be displayed in the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, a museum under the State of São Paulo’s Secretary of Culture. The exhibition named Out of Order – Works from the Helga de Alvear Collection and sponsored by Banco Bradesco, will be located in the museum’s first floor with paintings, sculptures, videos, installations, drawings and engravings dated as of the 1930s, with emphasis on production from the mid-1960s to current days. The great majority of works has never been displayed in Brazil and will be seen in the country for the first time.
The items are a portion of the works of almost 70 artists, including relevant names in modern art such as Wassily Kandinsky, Marcel Duchamp and Josef Albers; artists related to the chief trends in the North American post-war years, such as Donald Judd, Dan Flavin, Bruce Nauman and Gordon Matta-Clark; important creators of contemporary production, such as for example Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, Franz West, Jeff Wall and Thomas Ruff; and other names that started their careers in the last 30 years, including Francis Alÿs, Pierre Huyghe, Mark Leckey, Martin Creed, Marcel Dzama and Chen Wei. Brazilians Jac Leirner, Iran do Espírito Santo and José Damasceno also participate in the exhibition.
According to the curators – Ivo Mesquita, former Pinacoteca technical diretor, and José Augusto Ribeiro from the Art History and Criticism Research Division – the collection favors and places side by side two predominant schools of art, which are normally viewed as opposites in art history. “On the one hand works of a surrealist inclination and a great deal of imagination, which suggest fantastical situations. And on the other hand, items with a geometrical language, of simple forms, serial and self-referring, related to constructive trends, hard-edge paintings, to North American minimalism and European expressions known as post-minimalism,” explained Mesquita.
The intention is to mark not only differences between both schools but to describe connection points between them. “Out of Order is suggestive of the energetic intensity of structures with an abstract logic, often described as neutral, sober or discreet, and of the measure of calculation, discipline and construction found in nonsensical and absurd situations,” added Ribeiro.
- Wassily Kandinsky, Study for "Lightly together", 1933. Courtesy of Helga de Alvear archive
- João Maria Gusmão and Perdo Paiva, Newton´s Monkey, Darwin´s Apple , 2011. Courtesy of Pinacoteca do Estado
- Franz Ackerman, Uphill Again, 2013-2014. Courtesy of Pinacoteca do Estado