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From trees, utility poles to artwork: Brazilian artist Carvalhosa reflects on transitional state

Exhibition at Kukje Gallery brings wooden utility pole installation to Seoul

Exhibition view of “Sala de espera (waiting room)” by Carlito Carvalhosa, 2013. (Kukje Gallery)
Exhibition view of “Sala de espera (waiting room)” by Carlito Carvalhosa, 2013. (Kukje Gallery)
Wooden utility poles cut through a gallery space from one end to the other in a new exhibition of Brazilian artist Carlito Carvalhosa in Seoul. The poles, each measuring 8-12 meters long, pierce through the gallery walls and extend to the bottom of the floor while supporting other poles delicately placed one on top of another.

The position of wooden poles in a white cube triggers questions among viewers as his past works did by transforming everyday materials and familiar space into unfamiliar things.

“Poles, they are common things in Brazil, everyday materials. It’s part of my life and has always been there, but in this setting, you start to see them again,” said Carvalhosa at a press opening of the exhibition last week.

Although wooden utility poles are not common in some countries, they still form a large part of the landscape of Brazil.

The artist has worked with everyday materials such as fabrics to reframe architectural space and fill it with diverse experiences and stories that those materials create.

In his 2011 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the artist created a space in which white sheer fabric locks viewers in to excite their senses with visual, audio and physical experiences.

Carvalhosa, who majored in architecture in college, said what has interested him so far in the course of his artistic career is the “occupation of space.”

“My feeling for space is a little bit different from architects. Space is closely related with memories, and filled with experiences you have inside. Occupied space tells stories. That’s why I am interested in occupation of space,” said the artist.

The exhibition premiered earlier this year at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

The composition of poles at K3 hall of Kukje Gallery is different from that in the Sao Paolo exhibition, but what he intended to show to the audience is in line with his previous show, he said.

“Here it’s a different show because in Sao Paulo, we had columns at the museum. So the relationship between the white columns and wooden poles was strong. But here poles look more like they are stuck because there is not enough space for them to come down. It creates a different poetic experience,” the artist said.

“Basically when you bring something that has history, that addition changes everything.”

The artist suggests viewers feel their transitional state and see how they relate to them. “That’s why I named my works ‘Waiting Room (Sala de Espera)’ to see what we are waiting for, what’s going to happen and what has happened.”
The exhibition runs through Nov. 12 at K3, Kukje Gallery, Jongno, Seoul.

For more information, call (02) 735-8449.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)
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