Henrique Oliveira


Fear is primitive, fear is what makes the shins run. The refuge was once the mouth of the cave; the dark and warm indent that protected the human pack from the weather. Stone cave, wood-siding cave. Henrique Oliveira architect places where we once seeked refuge, where today centipedes live.

There is no escaping, the Minas Gerais artist fences everything, this bricklayer. Bricklayer yes, such as the one with the lunchbox, which stages a fight with hammers and wood but mainly with the site in construction. It is a work of expansion, as if in his hands Henrique possess the power of Big Bang, the universe that grows and multiplies inside a room of a museum. But things, ah, the things are all earthly. He uses wood, mattress, the stuffed animal that became bibelot.

He is also a Bricklayer because he uses usual materials. The research ran the streets where buildings are being erected, seeking wood-sidings that protect them. He is a bricklayer because raises everything. The energy is for the walls that are transformed; matter of survival, but also urban issue. After all, wood-siding is home of who has no money for brick and is part of a dressing only possible because cities exist. It is a dialogue with a diseased city. It was on the 2009 Bienal of MERCOSUL where his contamination in installations began. If contamination is a strong word, it is because the works of Henrique Oliveira also is – the construction becomes deformation. As victims of a tropical disease, his sculptures are bulbs of objects that were abandoned to their own luck. It is virulent, scary, and therefore attractive. The will is to get close, without fear of virulence, the desire for it to happen.

Henrique Oliveira fight against given architecture. The buildings will end up surrendering, as if even before they are built they had to bend to gigantic wooden fungi that are millennial inhabitants. This is the case of the Transarquitetônica artwork. The hybrid of cave and tree that took over the MAC is a reminder of a primitivism that runs in our veins: we already live in something similar, we already fear the dark.

We were once nomads. We walked barefoot through the deserts and lived in caves; we were also an expanding universe, so to see the work of Henrique Oliveira is to return to the root, to the house and to chaos.

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