Friday, 1 June 2018

Beatriz Milhazes: Rio Azul

"I want to have optical movements, disturbing things; such visions that your eyes would be disturbed when you see them." Beatriz Milhazes

Gamboa II

A nice shot of intense colour to complement the hot weather we've been experiencing in London of late was found in Beatiz Milhazes' current show at White Cube Bermondsey. There are these charming mobile/sculptures made from found and made materials resembling bead curtains from a 1970s interior which are pretty and decorative, but seem ephemeral and quite insubstantial. They brought out the child in me and I just wanted to run through them to relive my childhood.


Other pieces in the exhibition consist of Milhazes' trademark densely overlaid circular patterns and geometric motifs. There seems to be a nod to, and perhaps over-reliance on the works of both Robert and Sonia Delauney in these latest works, and a relegation of the lovely graphic foliage that Milhazes used to employ to soften the hard geometrical shapes.

Os cisnes com vermelho, rosa e prate

Bibi em ondas laranjas e cinzas


Papel japonês em amaelo e laranja

Hawai em ondas pretas e brancas

I enjoyed the densely layered collages, and noted the inclusion of packaging from premium brands.


Balade leite em roxo e azul ultramar

Pó de arroz

I enjoyed seeing the looser, painterly touches in certain paintings amid the graphic, kaleidoscopic, hard-edged pattern, and hope that this mark-making is something that is explored in more depth in future Milhazes paintings.

Banho de rio

Rio azul

The centrepiece of the exhibition is this huge wool tapestry - Rio Azul, which is 16 metres wide and almost 3 metres high. Milhazes says it is inspired by the work of Brazilian Modernist Roberto Burle Marx, but I also see the work of Matisse and his Jazz collages. The scale of this piece is certainly impressive but I would have liked to have seen Milhazes and the weavers exploit the more nuanced effects of tone and texture which can be achieved in the art of tapestry like those seen in Chris Ofili's The Caged Bird's Song here.


Coqueiral em marrom e azul

O grande dia

Beatriz Milhazes: Rio Azul
until 1st July
White Cube Bermondsey
144-152 Bermondsey Street