The painter Marina Rheingantz, in her studio. Photo: Eduardo Ortega/Courtesy of the artist and Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel
The painter Marina Rheingantz, in her studio. Photo: Eduardo Ortega/Courtesy of the artist and Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel

In mid-2019, when it was on display with two simultaneous exhibitions – Every sea has a river, at the Shed Forts D'Aloia & Gabriel, in São Paulo, and Rebound, at Carpintaria, gallery space in Rio de Janeiro – Marina Rheingantz, from São Paulo, was hailed as a painter on the rise, especially due to her rise in the international market at the time, after holding exhibitions in Japan, Belgium and the USA, and to her good auction performance – screens like redneck naked (2016) had been sold for figures above expectations in houses such as Philips.

On display until December 21 with Sedimentary, again at the Galpão da FDAG, in the capital of São Paulo, the artist consolidates a transition also pointed out in the pre-pandemic period, a turn in the representation of landscapes, seen in works such as forrest row – from 2011 and belonging to the Banco Itaú collection – for monumental canvases, in which, in a practice marked by gestures, generous layers of paint and brief brushstrokes may even suggest, from a distance, some figuration. But Marina, herself, prefers to leave possible readings open:

“I have difficulty verbalizing about my work, creating narratives about what I do. Nor do I believe they should be. Painting has this place where you can invent situations”, he says, in an interview with arte!brasileiros🇧🇷 Shortly afterwards, curiously, he clearly elaborates on the development of his artistic production in recent years. The abstraction comes from a longer process, started in the first half of the last decade.

“In a certain sense, my painting has always flirted with an idea of ​​fiction, a mixture between figuration and abstraction. She was never a faithful representation of something, she always mixed the idea of ​​a place with abstract painting. It was always clear that it was paint, that it was there, its present materiality, imposing itself,” she says.

About the works presented right before the pandemic – such as golden tail, screen in which there seemed to be an allusion to the environmental crimes committed in Mariana (2015) and Brumadinho (2019), both in Minas Gerais – and in the new exhibition, in which the distance from the representation of landscapes seems more demarcated, Marina says:

"The golden tail it was made shortly after Bolsonaro's election to the presidency. I started to paint some mud fountains. As if the country were immersed in them. It was a post-election moment, of despair. I always doubt whether this change in my work has anything to do with these last four years, with this very difficult situation in the country”, he reflects. “Abstracting would be almost like opening a window to another place. And, in fact, this transformation happened in this period. Things are related. Not that it is something so objective, but there is a tension that appears strong in those works.”

Marina was born in 1983, in Araraquara, just over 270 kilometers from São Paulo. Daughter of an engineer and a sociologist, she had, in living in the countryside and in education through the Waldorf method – created by the Austrian Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), and in which learning has a strong inclination towards manuality and artistic expression – two of the creative stimuli for what would become her production as a painter. But her career, itself, has not been so obvious.

Daughter of an engineer, as has already been said, and granddaughter of an architect, Marina says that she traveled the entire interior of São Paulo as a child, visiting construction sites. “They always pointed out the details of the buildings, and all of that was something that interested me a lot. My work has always had some connection with this idea of ​​construction as well”, she evaluates.

In 2001, Marina spent six months in England, doing an exchange program at a school based on Anthroposophy, another of Steiner's concepts, which underpins his Waldorf pedagogy. There, she took many craft classes, such as metal sculpture, painting, drawing, ceramics, among others.

“For me it was an impressive discovery to see the possibility of opening other paths, working in other ways, in a humanized way”, he emphasizes. “On my return, I started thinking about studying art. I had an older friend since I was a teenager, who was already studying arts at Faap, and he said several times that I should take the course too”. Marina began her studies in 2003, at Faap itself. At first, however, she says that she thought of following a more pedagogical path, instead of acting professionally as an artist, for her livelihood.

“I even worked as an assistant to art teachers for children, assistant to a florist, etc. I never imagined that I would sell a painting. At that time, there wasn't even a consolidated market in Brazil. Things started to happen more from 2007 onwards”, says the artist, whose works are now in important collections, such as Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Inhotim and MAM Rio, in Brazil; and, abroad, at the Rubell Museum, in Miami, as well as at the Pinault collection, in Paris, among others.

Throughout her time at college, Marina worked in different activities, something she had in common, she points out, with her colleagues in the craft at the Casa 7 studio, a group formed in the 1980s, in the São Paulo neighborhood of Pinheiros, by artists such as Nuno Ramos e Carlito Carvalhosa🇧🇷 “Everyone had a parallel job: [Rodrigo] Andrade was a cover artist for Veja, [Fabio] Miguez wrote books. So, I was also thinking about giving classes to children, and at the same time doing my job”, he says.

Things started to change after Marina spent a period in the educational department of the Instituto Tomie Ohtake and then did another exchange, this time academic, at a university in Chile, which had a partnership with Faap. “When I got back, I thought, 'Well, now that I don't like doing all that, I'm going to try a job as a production assistant in a museum or gallery.' I worked a little as an assembly assistant and, subsequently, Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel was opening an internship position, and I joined in 2006”, she says. In the gallery, everyone knew her as Marina Barbieri, my father's surname. When she started painting, she signed with her mother's surname, Rheingantz. Even in the salons held by Faap with its students.

“At the end of that year (2006), [gallerist] Márcia Fortes saw the annual Faap exhibition, came across a work by a Rheingantz, but did not connect the dots. She found out it was me, sent me home, because she wouldn't have an exhibition until the following year and told me to go to the studio and work”, says Marina. “In the beginning, I had a lot of butterflies in my stomach. But since I shared the studio with a friend, Bruno Dunley, there was, in a way, a more welcoming environment, it made me believe more that that, in fact, would become my job.”

The landscapes

After finishing her studies at Faap, in 2007, Marina did her first solo show the following year, Someday, in what was then Forts Vilaça. In it, he made “a geometric reduction of the landscape, highlighting elements that are individually identified as the fence, the house or the awning”, according to the curatorial text that accompanied the exhibition.

“In the beginning, and for many years, my painting had a very strong relationship with architecture in relation to the landscape”, says Marina, recalling an interview she gave to curator and critic Luisa Duarte, for the book Visual Pact 2 (2016). In the conversation, it was highlighted how her production had a strong relationship with her childhood in the countryside, when “the world was huge” and Marina lived freely in the pastures, riding a lot on horseback. For the painter, however, this relationship later expands to the national landscape.

“I grew up traveling the interior of São Paulo. My brother was a person who traveled a lot throughout Brazil, working in a multinational linked to agribusiness, soy, as an agroindustrial engineer. He also always sent a lot of pictures. Once, we went on an expedition together to study the landscape of Piauí”, he recalls. “What really interested me was the identity of the country and its cultural power”.

The career rise announced in 2019 was paused by the pandemic the following year. Marina then spent a month with her mother in Botacatu, also in the interior of São Paulo, right at the beginning of the health crisis. Having difficulty concentrating on her work, she says that, there, she did some portraits and paintings of horses, to “have something more tangible”. “It was the first time I painted people or animals. I think that's precisely because I'm experiencing that isolation,” she says.

The most monumental works, such as Trail, one of the highlights of the exhibition Sedimentary, emerged when Marina changed studio - in 2015, from Perdizes, where she even made 2mx3m canvases, for a new space, in Vila Ipojuca. The objective was to increase the dimensions of her works. “Today, I would like to have a shed to make even bigger paintings, reach dimensions like 5mx10m, for example, creations closer to murals, really”, she says.
In recent years, he says, he has sought to pay more attention to his health. He has been doing analysis for 20 years, today with a “Freudian, but not so Cartesian” therapist. For the sessions, he says that he often brings questions related to his practice. “Because I experience a certain anxiety about how to deal with the art medium, in the sense of work, not me, an individual”, he explains. At the same time, the painter points out that she thinks it is “healthy to envision a place where you want to go” as an artist, “to think about exhibitions abroad, not only to show my work, but also to take Brazilian culture forward, to show its importance, the richness that we have here. Art in the country is very strong.”
However, says Marina, the most important thing for her is her relationship with the studio, “which excites me the most on a daily basis.” Her work, he stresses, “it is the result of a lot of practice, a lot of exercise, a lot of work. More sweat than inspiration. THE exhibition he held last year at the Bortolami gallery in New York was called Sweat, because of a painting that took me a long, long time to do,” he says.
Lately, in the face of institutional crises that have marked the Brazilian artistic scene, such as the one that occurred - and later healed- between Masp and the curators of the nucleus resumptions, from the exhibition Brazilian Stories, Marina has also reflected on the importance of being in welcoming spaces. “After all, that's what art is: it's being able to bring people whatever it is, affection or indignation. Any relationship that arises between the public and the work of art is a healthy one”.
She, however, believes that everything has been “very rationalized, objectively related to a political act, to a certain situation” in the arts panorama. “Sometimes, even if due to a kind of opposition, my work ends up being also political, in that sense: it doesn't need to raise a flag. It's closer to affection, really. Linked to the importance of looking at the other”, he concludes.

Until December 21, 2022
Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel Shed
R. James Holland, 71 – Barra Funda, São Paulo – SP
Visitation: from t
monday to friday, from 10am to 19pm; Saturdays, from 10 am to 18 pm

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