01/05/2013 - 15/06/2013
Gilded bronze and eco fur
L84 x D81 x H85 cm
L33.1 x D31.9 x H33.5 in
‘Brazilian Baroque is a mixture of Brazilian and Roman baroque’ says Humberto Campana. ‘It is based on a very personal desire to explore classical forms and to interpret the Baroque ideal in a contemporary style of our own.’ Best known for their work with recycled materials and imaginative re-using and re-working of existing pieces, the Campana Brothers have been inspired to create a collection which fuses the classical disciplines of Baroque art with the influence of 20th century movements such as Arte Povera and Surrealism.
‘This project has been very liberating,’ says Humberto. ‘We explored an entirely different work practice. I was based primarily in Rome, working with the artisans and bronze specialists.’ Each piece presents an assemblage of ornaments from different eras - classical motifs from the 16th and 17th century jumbled up with images of animals, cupids, keys, leaves - a stimulating mix of the sacred and profane iconographies, purity with perversion all of which come together to create a satisfyingly cohesive symbolic language of its own.
The addition of zoomorphic figures (serpents, crocodiles, feet and heads of chickens) juxtaposed with or taking the place of the classic ornaments taken from traditional decoration, has contributed to shorten the thread that from the outset of the work was stretched to connect Italy and Brazil and their respective cultural codes.
The pieces shown at the Brazilian Baroque exhibition are clearly designed for use but the means of producing these pieces demonstrates a fascinating blend of the Campana Brothers’ eclectic style of collage with a willingness of artisans and specialist workshops to experiment and push their time honoured skills into a new dimension.
‘The first time we visited the bronze maker’s workshop in Rome and saw such variety of pieces in gilded bronze, was a revelation,’ says Humberto. ‘Fernando had the idea of putting these pieces together, making a pile and then I developed the process, first by gluing the pieces together, then fusing them, trying to create a composition.’ The resulting collection is a random reordering based on an understanding of reconstruction and contemporary design. ‘We are interested in material and the way it is used,’ continues Humberto, ‘with this project, our aim was to achieve unity through fragmentation and this has triggered an entirely new aesthetic process.’ Through this long process, the Campana Brothers reach a personal definition of the Baroque, which they have defined as “transgenic”, due to its thrust as a degenerating interpenetration of different local and contextual interpretations, incorporating dreamy overtones and reawakening a sense of wonder and amazement.
The Campana Brothers have definitely created a new concept of luxury: an ironic luxury. It would not be amiss to say that they have subverted the canon, and have found a way to blend self-deprecating humour with beauty, so that the lightness and playfulness of their minds enriches their concept of luxury: this work puts you at ease and makes you smile.
Fernando Campana concludes: ‘Our goal was to create a collection of pieces which gave the impression that they could belong to the Baroque period, that the structure and the harmony of the pieces make these contemporary pieces look entirely at home within a Baroque environment. I believe that we have achieved that.’