The "Sailboat" by Bispo do Rosário.

DDiagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, Arthur Bispo do Rosário lived for almost 50 years, between entries and exits, as an intern in psychiatric hospitals in Rio de Janeiro. He took advantage of the precarious materials that surrounded him to recreate the world in a priceless work. From the threads of his own uniforms, he created robes and fabrics. He also conceived sculptures and murals covered with objects that he compulsively collected, assembling an entire parallel universe.

Deceased in July 1989, the artist has had his work revisited, restored, sanitized and cataloged since the end of 2016. In September 2019, the collection of Bispo do Rosário was listed by the Instituto do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (Iphan), unanimous decision of its advisory board.

Sponsored by the Marcos Amaro Foundation (FMA), the Museu Bispo do Rosário Arte Contemporânea, in Rio de Janeiro, will incorporate one of the pavilions of the former Colônia Juliano Moreira into its current space, which currently houses the exhibition area and the collection under restoration. , hospital  where the artist lived for many years. The building, which will have to be completely restored, houses the cell occupied by Bispo, who saw it as a kind of studio.

“The walls of the cell where Bispo do Rosário lived are completely covered by drawings that have been covered by layers of paint over the years. We are going to remove them little by little, in a process of restoring the original layer of paint, in an attempt to reveal the entire creative universe of the Bishop printed on those walls”, says Ricardo Resende, curator of the Museum and also of the FMA. After being restored, the cell will function as a permanent exhibition space for the works of the Sergipe artist. “The idea is precisely to present his works to the public in their natural environment, where they were created – even because the Bishop's work gains meaning, meaning and potency of immeasurable proportions when contextualized in that asylum's landscape”, he comments.

For the start of the pavilion restoration project, the Marcos Amaro Foundation donated the amount of R$ 350 thousand to the institution in Rio de Janeiro. In 2017, the foundation supported the readjustment and renovation of the Museum's current technical reserve. At the beginning of 2018, the incentives were for the readjustment of the current exhibition rooms, ensuring better museological conditions for the exhibition of the work. “With this support, the FMA reaffirms its purpose of not only promoting contemporary production with the creation of awards and residencies aimed at young and active artists, but also for the preservation and conservation of Brazilian contemporary art”, says Raquel Fayad, director general of the foundation.

“This procedure is the largest ever performed in contemporary art works in Brazil. The method consists of removing oxygen from a structure built precisely for this purpose, a hermetically closed bubble, where half of Bispo do Rosário's work was accommodated in its first stage. From there, through a mechanism, all the oxygen was removed from its interior, leaving only the hydrogen”, explains Ricardo Resende. “This process guarantees an effective elimination of termites, fungi or any other microorganism by suffocation. It is a technology that does not affect the work, which is extremely fragile, and requires the utmost care.”

Currently, the exhibition is on display at the Museum's headquarters. UTOPIAS: Life for all time and glory, contemplated in the 2018 Cultural Producer Notice - ISS, which continues the Museum's proposal to guarantee and expand access to art and culture outside the conventional axes of the city. Curated by Diana Kolker and Ricardo Resende, the exhibition features works by artists belonging to Atelier Gaia, linked to the Bispo do Rosário Museum, and works developed by artists Pola Fernandez, Val Souza, Ercilia Stanciany, Veridiana Zurita and Seu Hernandes José da Silva , invited to participate in the Casa B residency program.

Pola Fernandez's work was also exhibited at the opening of the exhibition Bispo do Rosário: The Things of the World, opened at the Marcos Amaro Art Factory – FAMA, in Itu, in September.

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