Henrique Oliveira: Room-Filling Amazement

Brazilian artist Henrique Oliveira creates masterful (some say evolutionary) sculptural installations from scrap, pliable wood collected from construction sites in his native city of São Paulo. The huge structures combine the disciplines of painting, sculpture, and architecture, with broken pieces of plywood set in layers like brushstrokes. (Above: Tapumes, Rice Gallery, Houston, 4.7 x 13.4 x 2m. Photo: Nash Baker)

Untitled (Brushstroke), Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, 11 x 3.5 x 1m

The artist constructed the piece on site, using a stapler to meticulously attach hundreds of thin strips of weathered, discarded wood to a hidden understructure. The wood, reminiscent of that once used to make light crates for fruits and vegetables, served as fencing at construction sites in Brazil. –Denver Post, on the Boulder exhibit (above)

Origin of the Third World, internal view, 2010, 29ª Bienal de São Paulo
, 4.9 x 45 x 5m

The installations often consume the space of a large exhibition room and frequently are multi-dimensional, allowing entry into the heart of the works. Each one is designed specifically for the site.  Oliveira combines the weathered, already colored strips of found wood with newer plywood that he stains (below).

Some of the works snake around posts or move through rooms. (Below: Bololô, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, 4.3 x 9.2 x 7.6m

One of his works turned this house into a sculpture. (Casa dos Leoes, 2009 Biennial, Porto Allegre, Brazil)

Oliveira also creates painted sculptures, such as Bozo´s Hangover (below:cuts of acrylic paint on plywood, 2.8 x 2.15 x 0.55m) and Artificial Painting (bottom: Alejandra von Hartz Gallery, Miami, 3.5 x 5 x 2m) 

Henrique Oliveira’s website, here.

12 replies »

    • Yes I agree on the interaction with the space. It doesn’t seem to matter where or what the space is, he fills it exquisitely with room to see the artistry. Thanks for the comment.


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