Isaac Julien’s nine-screen installation, premiering at Victoria Miro, traverses a collection of Lina Bo Bardi’s most iconic buildings, offering a meditation on the iconic work and on the legacy of the visionary modernist architect and designer (1914–1992).
‘Linear time is a western invention; time is not linear, it is a marvellous entanglement, where at any moment points can be chosen and solutions invented without beginning or end.’ – Lina Bo Bardi *
Having filmed on location in São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), SESC Pompéia and in the Teatro Oficina, Julien proposes an open-ended reflection on Lina Bo Bardi’s architecture and her approach to Brazilian culture. These three buildings, widely regarded as landmarks of Brazilian modernism, stand as representative of Lina Bo Bardi’s groundbreaking ideas. Travelling further north, the work also encounters Bo Bardi’s buildings in Salvador: the Museum of Modern Art, Bahia; the Coaty Restaurant and the Gergório de Matos theatre.
Starring the acclaimed Brazilian actresses Fernanda Montenegro and her daughter Fernanda Torres (as seen above), A Marvellous Entanglement portrays Bo Bardi at different stages of her life, as Montenegro and Torres recite texts closely adapted from the architect’s writings.
A central figure of Latin American modernist architecture, Lina Bo Bardi devoted her working life to promoting the social and cultural potential of art, architecture and design. Exploring these themes, A Marvellous Entanglement establishes Bo Bardi's iconic staircase, which she designed for the Museum of Modern Art, Bahia, as the stage upon which Julien orchestrates an original work by choreographer Zebrinha and performed by the Balé Folclórico de Bahia. The Coaty, a modern ruin perched on the Ladeira de Misericordia in Salvador, accommodates in turn a series of performances by Brazilian art collective Araka. In close collaboration with Julien,
the collective performs in situ happenings reflecting upon the significance of Bo Bardi’s seldom-accessed masterpiece for a young contemporary audience.
Image: Isaac Julien Lina Bo Bardi – A Marvellous Entanglement, 2019
© Isaac Julien
Courtesy the artist and Victoria Miro, London/Venice