• We 11.09 , 12:00h
  • Th 12.09 , 12:00h
  • Fr 13.09 , 12:00h
  • Sa 14.09 , 12:00h
  • Su 15.09 , 12:00h

Sonia Gomes, Aninhado, 2019. Courtesy of Mendes Wood DM São Paulo, Brussels, New York. Copyright of the artist; Photo: Bruno Leão
Sonia Gomes, Hiato, 2019. Stitching, bindings, different fabrics and laces and wooden ball. Private collection. Courtesy of Mendes Wood DM São Paulo, Brussels, New York / Copyright of the Artist; Photo: Kristien Daem

Exhibition, Private collection

Exhibition 7 SEP 2019—22 FEB 2020
Opening 6 SEP 2019, 7—9pm

Sonia Gomes: I Rise. I’m a Black Ocean, Leaping and Wide

For Brazilian artist Sonia Gomes, I Rise—I’m a Black Ocean, Leaping and Wide is the first solo show at a European institution. In her work, Gomes uses a wide range of found materials and objects given to her as gifts, such as old textiles, driftwood, furniture, or wool, to make sculptures and large-scale installations. In this way, she combines craft techniques traditionally associated with women, such as embroidery, wrapping, sewing, and binding, with many different references, drawing on the folk art and spiritual African traditions, the formal idiom of Surrealism, Brazilian modernism, and current contemporary art.

Bodies hung upside-down, twisted into one another, recalling lynching victims or wilting vegetation. Nerve paths, mental maps, dreamcatchers: Sonia Gomes’ biomorphic sculptures have a worrying, magical presence. Born in 1948 to an unmarried black mother and white father in Caetanópolis, a center of the Brazilian textile industry, Gomes grew up, after the early death of her mother, in the Catholic family of her father. But the African culture and spirituality of her mother and grandmother, as well as an interest in rituals, processions, and myths, made a lasting impact on her life and her later work as an artist. As a teenager, Gomes began deconstructing textiles and items of clothing to create her own style and to make both items for practical use and craft objects. Only at the age of 40, however, when she attended the Guignard University of Art in Belo Horizonte, did she decide, with the support of a teacher, to make a career in contemporary art. Today, following her participation in the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, she is among Brazil’s most influential artists.

The exhibition is accompanied by a presentation of the Rwandan Daughters project (2019) by German photographer Olaf Heine that addresses the collective and personal consequences of the Rwandan genocide and the sexual violence inflicted on women in times of war.