The Jewish Museum has commissioned Brazilian artist, Beatriz Milhazes to create new artworks fusing the walls, the floors, and the ceilings of the museum as integral component in art. The series of five hanging sculptures, named Gamboa II, decorates the lobby of the Jewish Museum from 6th May to 18th September 2016.
The Using Walls, Floors, and Ceilings initiative debuted in 2013. This spring-summer period, the Museum has engaged Milhazes in the project. The scintillant sculptures intermingle to fashion a vibrantly coloured canopy over every visitor of the Museum.
The newly commissioned works are heavily inspired by Carnival celebrations that are native to the artist, alluding greatly to the elaborate parade floats. Following suit to Milhazes’ representative use of a broad and rich spectrum of hues and textures, Gamboa II features chandelierlike sculptures with flecks of flower petals and arabesques trailing in midair. Milhazes intertwines visual references to Brazilian Baroque and folk traditions with modern artistic movements such as Constructivism and Tropicália. The artist has also included inspirations taken from Brazilian landscape design such as Robert Burle Marx’s Op art-style pathways for Copacabana Beach, as well as from the botanic garden next to her studio in Rio de Janeiro. Gamboa II is a brilliant articulation of the language of European modernism combining disparate forms and ideas in three dimensions.
Parade floats do not monopolise amongst the references present in Milhazes’ work Gamboa II. A connection to dance remains a vital aspect of the artwork, which was created with the help of samba school float makers. This nod to dance also recalls the social and political issues that underpin the Carnival festivities. Brazil under the oppressive regime from 1946 to 1985 descended into restricted and censored artistic expression. A characteristic of artworks created in those decades is the prolific use of found, ephemeral material and ad hoc construction along with pieces that carry a performative and sociopolitical functionality.
Gamboa II is the complete embodiment of the reminiscence of this part of the Brazilian history and at the same time, the samba aesthetic expressed by the jauntiness of shiny, candy-coloured paper chandeliers.