Romero Britto - Exhibition Catalogue Neo-Pop Cubism,


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The catalogue of Romero Britto exhibition at the October Gallery in London May - June 1999 'Neo-pop Cubism'.

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Romero Britto - Exhibition Catalogue Neo-Pop Cubism,

  1. 1. ROMERO BRITTOJ J E O - P O P the October gallery
  2. 2. ROMERO BRITTO NEO-POP CUBISM 13th May - 19th June 1999There is an almost fairy-tale quality to the story of Romero Britto. As a childborn into a large family in Brazil, Britto combated the drabness of poverty byteaching himself to paint filling every available scrap of paper with imagesof a brighter, more colourful world. As a teenager, his pictures began to sell;enough to fuel his artistic ambitions and provide the means to travel aroundEurope, At twenty-six, his childhood dreams came true when he was chosento a d d a splash of colour to Absolut Vodkas high-profile a d campaign. Thisincredible good fortune catapulted the unknown artist into the limelight, 7 Dance of Hearts, 1999, Mural Painting for the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, 122 x 305cmplacing him alongside artists such as Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Othercommissions followed: Grand Marnier, Pepsi Cola, Disney IBM, AppleComputers and many more, ensuring that his distinctive style was recognised The label neo-pop cubism clearly indicates Brittos links with certain artists x 7by millions world-wide. Collaborations with leading fashion designers and antecedent styles. Pop Art was a movement emerging somewhatextended his range, and his work was acquired by Michael Jordan, Arnold independently on both sides of the Atlantic between 1955 and 1965, asSchwarzenegger and Whitney Houston - to name just a few celebrities - as artists incorporated into their work images of popular culture taken from thewell as by the Guggenheims, Kennedys and Mitterands. Today, at thirty-six mass media of cinema, television, comics and advertising. With its roots inand settled in the States, the heir apparent of neo-pop cubism holds an Dada and Surrealism, Pop was a reaction against the prevailing artisticoxlraordinarily bright future in the palms of his talented hands. modes of the post-war western world (Neo-Romanticism in Britain and Abstract Expressionism in the States). The style flourished because, as one critic put it "imagery intended for the fleeting consideration of a mass audience said more about contemporary attitudes than easel paintings executed for the careful reflection of visitors to a museum/ While British 7 artists such as Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton and the early Hockney formed Pops vanguard, it was the Americans such as Lichtenstein, Rosenquist and Warhol who best defined the genre. British Pop reflected a preoccupation with the allure of American culture; the Americans, growing up within it, knew better how to subvert it, exploiting the advertising industrys Midas touch for their own artistic (and sometimes self-promoting) ends. That there are Cubist elements in Brittos work should hardly surprise; few artists in modern times have escaped the long shadows cast by Picasso and Braque. Brittos style, with its figures formed of bright geometric shapes sharing a common plane with a kaleidoscope of background colours, has assimilated aspects of both Analytical and Hermetic Cubism. Specific references abound. The Queen Chess (1988) a n d the early mixed media collages confirm an admiration for Picasso. The One and Only (1997) and the later still lifes show Brittos work revelling in that vital energy that was the hallmark of Matisse while Van Britto acknowledges the influence of the great Dutchman. As Brittos individual style matured, a playful profusion of graffiti marks - scribbled flowers a n d spontaneous whorls - c a m e to overlay the primary coloured stripes and polka dots. The most inventive of these designs transform the glyphs of the artistsSecret Garden, 1997, Acrylic on Canvas, 76 x 102cm Private Collection
  3. 3. signature Into semi-abstract patterns of great ingenuity. When Brittodecorated an entire Ferrari with these trademark signs, the stunninglyeffective result was a measure of just how far Pop Art had a d v a n c e dsince the days of Warhol signing tins of Campbells Soup.The boldness of Brittos style indicates other advances too. In refurnishingsecond-hand images with alternative contexts Pop fell a frequent prey tonostalgia. Brittos art could not be more different. His work overflows withan exuberant vitality and self-confidence seldom seen in western artsince Cubism - following the scientific discoveries of its time - threwmodern art history into a paroxysm of uncertainty. Perhaps the mostheartening aspect of Brittos art is its unrestrainedly optimistic outlook onlife, exhorting the viewer to rejoice a n d to c a t c h each winged moment Doituj lain 7i. 1998, Silkscreen, I (lili< >n of 300 on Paper, 9 ! x I ( M e m as it flies. Nor is this an affected cheerfulness that ignores pain a n d sadness, but rather a positive determination in the face of difficulty a brave refusal to transmit to others the negative energy of despair. Having experienced the grinding struggles of poverty at first hand Britto employs his wholly affirmative art as a counteractive force, using his access to an international audience to highlight problematical issues of concern to all: the destruction of the Amazon rain-forests, the intractable problem of AIDS and the plight of sick a n d handicapped children. Over the years Britto has lent his charismatic energies to many philanthropic causes, working with organisations such as Amnesty International, Earth Tr< ill I and the American Red Cross, and using his influence and resources to bring hope to sick and disadvantaged children. Brittos playful work brightens many a hospital wall, and his latest visit to London will see a large-scale painting unveiled in Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, a world centre for paediatric care. In 1858, Charles Dickens raised £3000 for the Childrens Hospital with a staged reading of A Christmas Carol and in 193/, J. M. Barrie bequeathed the rights to Peter Pan to ensure a continuous stream of royalty donations as long as that childrens classic finds a sympathetic audience. In designing a vibrant painting to hang in the Childrens Hospital, Romero Britto joins an illustrious line of artists committed to using their talents to foster that most valuable (and vulnerable) of all resources essential to a brighter, more colourful world - the children. © Gerard A. Houghton, April, 1999
  4. 4. ROMERO BRITTO - M I L E S T O N E S 1996 1992 Galleria Prova, Tokyo, Japan Stricoff Fine Art Gallery, New York, NY, Art Americas, Nan Miller Gallery, USA Miami, Florida, USA Candido Mendes Cultural Centre, Rio Stricoff Fine Art Gallery, New York, NY, d e Janeiro, Brazil USA The Rocky Aoki Collection, Tokyo, Japan 1995 1991 Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia De Graaf Gallery, Chicago, IL, USA New Trends Hong Kong Candide Gallery, Atlanta, GA, USA Nan Miller Gallery, Hong Kong Coral Gables Fine Art Gallery, Miami, Suppan Fine Arts, Vienna, Austria Florida, USA 1994 1990 - 1986 Art Miami, Nan Miller Gallery, Miami, The Mayfair Gallery, Miami, Florida, USA Florida, USA Wirtz Gallery, Miami, Florida, USA Kass Meridian Gallery, Chicago, IL, USA Queen Charlotte Hall, London, Harrington Gallery, Vancouver, Canada England Offens Atelier, Erlagen, Germany 1993 Public Works Department, Strangnas, FIAC, Le Grande Palais, Kass/Meridian Sweden Gallery, Paris, France Art Asia, Kass/Meridian Gallery, Hong Kong SOLO MUSEUM SHOWS Art Chicago, Kass/Meridian Gallery, Museu Nacional d e Belas Artes - Rio Chicago, IL, USA de Janeiro, Brazil, 1998 Arte Fiera, Kass/Meridian Gallery, Museu d e Belas Artes e Historia - SanBorn in 1963, in Recife, Brazil Bologna, Italy Juan, Puerto Rico, 1998SELECTED SOLO SHOWS1999The October Gallery, London, EnglandStudio at Long Grove, Chicago, USANew York Art Expo, New York, NY, USA1998Pop International, New York, NY USAHermann Krause, Munich, GermanyNan Miller Gallery, Rochester, New YorkKaren Jenkins Johnson, San Francisco,California, USA.Galleria Prova, Tokyo, JapanNature Gallery, Tumon, GuamGalerie Jaeschke, Braunschweig,GermanyGalerie Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil1997Sky Art, Knokke, BelgiumAmerican Art Company, Tacoma,Washington, USAVancouver International ArtsExhibition, Vancouver, CanadaGalleria Prova, Tokyo, JapanSuppan Fine Art, Vienna, AustriaOdakyu Museum, Tokyo, JapanStar Gallery, Bern, Switzerland Swing, 1999, Silkscreen, Edition of 300 on Paper, 51 x 64cm the October galle Fax: 0171-405 1851 ity No. 327032