View of the exhibition ALTURAS, by Alex Flemming, at Arte132 Galeria
View of Alex Flemming's solo exhibition, "Alturas", on display at Arte132. Photo: Henrique Luz/Disclosure

“TWe are particularly interested in the lesser-known production of the most recognized [artists] in the Brazilian art circuit, and also in the production of those renowned in the history of Brazilian art, but which require revision. However, the art of a country and a period is not just made up of a few names defined by the market, but of all the artists who developed an understanding of the World and Man in a moment. We intend to reinclude names in the scenario of galleries and institutions”, says Telmo Porto. Founder of Arte132, this is how he defines the directions of the new gallery, opened in August 2021 in Moema, south of the city of São Paulo. 

More than a traditional gallery, Arte132 intends to project itself as a multiple space, promoting discussions and courses with specialists - which in an interdisciplinary way will involve themes such as visual arts, history, literature, music and humanities -, as well as music recitals, becoming a meeting place. 

An engineer by training, Telmo Porto taught at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo for 40 years, but he always had art as one of his main interests. Advisor and patron of museums in São Paulo, he now opens the gallery as one of the fronts of his work in the Brazilian art scene. “What we intend to offer are works that reflect the time in which they were created, contemporary and past, and that can be acquired as a witness. Works that maintain their power to propose and dazzle”, he says about the project. And adds: “We want to show and offer quality art to as many people as possible. Between the great collector, with curatorial support, and the young family, who want to have relevant art on their wall but face budget constraints.”

It was with an unprecedented solo exhibition of Alex Flemming, curated by Angélica de Morais, that the house opened its doors. On view until October 16, Heights brings together works from the homonymous series started in 1988. There are 15 large-scale paintings in which “on abstract backgrounds, Flemming recorded the physical height of people he admires and who went to his studios (in Brazil or Germany). They are not records of celebrities, they are tributes”, explains Porto in one of the videos about the show published on the gallery's Instagram. “In this series, I concretely portray the height of the people of our time, with all the artistic load that a work requires. The series is abstract, but also absolutely real and concrete”, comments Alex Flemming.

“Flemming appropriated and expanded into painting an old habit incorporated into his family's domestic daily life: measuring the growth of his children. As a boy, he'd gotten used to having his height checked on a line ruler built and accumulated on a house wall over the years. The procedure, which he replicated for all of his subjects, consists of taking off his shoes and, with his back to a canvas in progress, stay still to also have your stature measured”, explains Angélica de Morais in the curatorial text. AND highlights: “Coherent with the focus of his work, strongly anchored in the human figure, he substitutes the image of the body for the index of presence: the ruler that informs the height of the portrayed”.

Paulo Mendes da Rocha, Gilberto Gil, João Moreira Salles, German Lorca, Ayrson Heraclitus, Eduardo Galeano, José Mujica are some of the many that had their stature registered. In the series as a whole, “33% of those honored in these canvases are Brazilian plastic artists, 16% are foreign plastic artists, 19% are photographers, 6% filmmakers, and there are also actors and actresses, sportsmen, writers, poets, philosophers, dancers and dancer, male and female singers”, explains Porto.

The artist standardizes the size of the canvases so that they constitute a kind of “Bar Code of the culture of our time”. For the curator, the concept of measuring is subverted in these works by another scale of values: cultural relevance, “understood here not only in the sphere of the arts but also in other activities that, together, define the face of what it is like to be in the world today and the many contributions we have made to structure our own vision of the world, increasingly fragmentary and contingent, a kaleidoscope of many illuminated facets that complete each other by opposition or complement”.


Heights, solo by Alex Flemming
Art 132: Av. Juriti, 132 – Moema, São Paulo (SP)
Visitation: On display until October 16. Monday to Friday, from 14 pm to 19 pm; Saturday, 11 am to 17 pm

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