Maria Nepomuceno’s statement sculptures. By Rachel Spence.
The bright, biomorphic forms of the Brazilian artist suggest an alternative to wasteful consumerism.
On a lightless winter afternoon earlier this year, when London felt like a watercolour by a painter with only grey in her palette, I dropped into Victoria Miro’s Islington gallery to see a new show by Maria Nepomuceno. Assembled from radiant ropes and beads that coiled into tight curves and spiralled into serpentine tentacles, the Brazilian artist’s sculptures sent the winter blues packing as efficiently as a trip to the Caribbean. Were we in a tropical jungle? Shimmying to samba on a carnival float? Or had we been transported to a Utopian life system where cells and organs sprouted with shameless fecundity?
Who cared? The northern gloom slinked off to sulk; my spirits stayed sky-high for the weekend; and Nepomuceno – who enjoyed an acclaimed solo show at Margate’s Turner Contemporary in 2012 – confirmed her reputation as one of the brightest stars in the Latin American firmament. Yet when I catch up with the artist several months later, she tells me that her sensual blasts of wellbeing spring from a dark source...