Kupfer is pleased to announce the exhibition Let X=X, featuring works by Brazilian artists Alair Gomes (1921-1992) and Hudinilson Jr. (1957-2013). Belonging to different generations, both artists produced groundbreaking and experimental works focusing on the male body during the repressive years of military dictatorship in Brazil. Gomes and Hudinilson’s pioneering approach to homoeroticism and queerness within the largely heteronormative context of 1970s and 1980s Brazil had a lasting influence on the country’s contemporary art scene.
ALAIR GOMES (Valença, 1921 - Rio de Janeiro, 1992)
Born on December 20, 1921 in Valença, Alair de Oliveira Gomes obtained a degree in civil engineering in 1944 at the University of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro. The following year, he was appointed an engineer at the Brazilian Railway Company. He founded the literary review, MAGOG, with José Francisco Coelho and a few other friends in 1946. The same year, he underwent a profound religious crisis.
In 1948, he abandoned his profession as an engineer to devote himself to the study of modern physics, mathematics, and biology. In 1961, he received a philosophy grant from the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He spent one year in the United States (1962-1963), where he was invited to teach at Yale University. From 1964 to 1976, he participated in numerous international conferences on the philosophy of science. He became a professor of Philosophy of Science at the Biophysics Institute of the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro and a professor of contemporary art at the School of Visual Arts (Brazilian Ministry of Culture), and then, an advisor at the National Institute of Visual Arts (National Foundation for the Arts, Rio de Janeiro). From 1977, Gomes became more active in the fields of art criticism and photography. Between 1976 and 1984, he exhibited his photographs in New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Toronto.
He was murdered in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro.
In 2001, the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain organised a major monographic exhibition of Alair Gomes, which was accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue. Since then, his work has gradually achieved international attention, having featured in the 30th São Paulo Biennial, curated by Luis Pérez-Oramas (2012) and A New Sentimental Journey, Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris, 2009). His work is now part of important collections including Fondation Cartier (Paris), Loewe Foundation (Madrid), and the MoMA (New York, USA).
HUDINILSON JR (São Paulo, 1957 - 2013)
Working since the late 1970s, Sao Paulo-based Hudinilson Jr’s practice shifted between autobiographical and diaristic collage, performative collaboration (with collaborative group 3Nós3, 1979–1982), small sculptures and Xerox works that track a little-known but expansive and rich life.
Addressing queer issues and sexuality, and the personal and political freedoms arising from the end of military rule in 1985, Hudinilson Jr formed a collection of collaged diaristic tomes, which are full of images collated from newspapers and magazines, photographs and letters and notes from friends. These books reveal that, despite an economy of means, Hudinilson Jr created a personal world which began with the politicized body. The ‘diaries’ juxtapose fragmentary imagery – monuments with youthful male bodies, casual notes and messages with self-portraits.
In recent years, the work of Hudinilson Jr has been presented at important collective exhibitions such as: Histories of Sexuality - MASP (São Paulo), Copyart in Brazil - 1970-1990 (University of San Diego, USA), The Matter of Photography in Americas (Stanford University, USA), Glasgow International Biennial (2014) and the 31st São Paulo Biennial. The artist also had his work recently presented in individual exhibitions at São Paulo Cultural Center, USP Museum of Contemporary Art (São Paulo) and Scrap Metal Gallery (Toronto).
His work is now part of important collections such as MoMA (New York, USA), Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid, Spain), Migros Museum (Zurich, Switzerland), MAGA Museo d’Arte (Gallarate, Italy), MALBA (Buenos Aires, Argentina), MASP (São Paulo, Brazil), Pinacoteca do Estado (São Paulo, Brazil), Museum of Modern Art (São Paulo, Brazil) and the USP Museum of Contemporary Art (São Paulo, Brazil).
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