Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo presents “Natureza Franciscana” an exhibition offering a modern notion of collaborative relationships between humans and nature. Curated by Felipe Chaimovich, the show is organizing according to the stanzas of Canticle of Creatures, a chant composed by Francis of Assisi, probably between 1220 and 1226, officially recognized as the text that first presented issues related to ecology.
In order to contemplate the line of art and ecology, the curator selected artists who utilize elements of nature in their productions, gathering works from the Museum’s collection and some loans. Exhibited on various supports such as photography, drawing, print, video, artist’s book, installation, sound work, object, sculpture, and embroidery, the nearly 30 works gathered here are related to elements of nature mentioned in the Canticle. “Both the artists and their works show the elements described in the chant such as sun, stars, air, water, fire, earth, sickness and trials, and, ultimately, death, presenting a relationship of collaboration with nature,” explains Chaimovich, who has been studying Francis’s work for the past 15 years.
This curator has previously presented other shows about art and ecology, including some at this Museum such as Ecológica (Ecological) and Festival de Jardins do MAM no Ibirapuera (Gardens Festival of MAM at Ibirapuera Park) in collaboration with Chantal Colleu-Dumond and the International Garden Festival – Domaine de Chaumont-sur-Loire in 2010. MAM also hosted the shows Morada Ecológica (Ecological Home) and Razão e Ambiente (Reason and Environment) curated by Dominique Gauzin-Muller and Lauro Cavalcanti, respectively, both in 2011.
The “Canticle of Creatures” was written in the language from Umbria, and the lyrics reaffirm Francis of Assisi’s ideas, who often referred to the sun and the moon as brother and sister. The final part of the canticle was probably written in late 1224, while its author was suffering with illness.