April 2, 2009
ART TONICO LEMOS AUAD, Stephen Friedman Gallery
Tonico Lemos Auad has come a long way since pricking a face on a bunch of bananas. Born in Brazil and trained primarily in London, his work sutures together some kind of “magical” Brazilian realism (think — at a tangent — Cildo Meireles) with the British conceptualism engendered by the YBAs. Like the fruit and the carpet fluff of yore, here cloth has metamorphosed into boats and vessels (ie pots). A gallery wall, Reflected Archaeology, is decorated with Brazilian charms is covered with a scratch card surface that viewers are invited to reveal — every one’s a winner! A bronze cast of air vents, Basement, reveals a space in which technicians seem to store materials. Is something being magically unveiled? Ultimately the result is a sort of fleeting melancholy laced with an Arte Povera poetry. Auad’s work is a combination of seriousness and whimsy, of playfulness and possible conceptual insight.