Alexander Gray Associates presented an exhibition of ten unrealized projects by multidisciplinary artist Regina Silveira. Emphasizing Silveira’s ongoing formal experimentation and conceptual interventions in architecture, the works on view provide an overview of site-specific installations and public art projects that were never realized in physical space. Regina Silveira: Unrealized / Não feito is the Gallery’s fifth solo presentation of Silveira’s work, and celebrates a decade since her first Gallery exhibition in 2009.
A pioneering figure in Brazilian art, for over five decades Silveira has utilized surprise and illusion as methodologies for the destabilization of perspective and reality. Silveira began her career in the 1950s under the tutelage of expressionist Brazilian painter Iberê Camargo, studying lithography and woodcut, as well as painting. In the 1970s, Silveira experimented with printmaking and video, spearheading a movement of radical artistic production during a time of military repression in Brazil. Since the 1980s, Silveira has executed numerous large-scale installations in libraries, public plazas, roadways, parks, museum facades, public transit centers, and other institutional sites. The works on view in Unrealized / Não feito offer a unique glimpse into Silveira’s process and methodology and catalyze possibilities for future experimentation.
Developed in many cases with detailed schematics, preparatory drawings, digital renderings, and physical models, all of the projects in the exhibition encapsulate the artist’s ongoing engagement with the distortion of space. Perception, for Silveira, is a malleable playing field, in which the artist’s imagination plays a critical role. Informed in part by the democratic virtues of horizontal pedagogy, she focuses on the ways in which the public uses common spaces. Most of her large-scale installations are temporary, highlighting ephemerality and reproducibility in her use of materials.
The exhibition features projects that span more than three decades and expansive geographies. Ahead of her time in her use of technology, Silveira began to utilize plotter-cut vinyl and other digital means in the 1990s as flexible materials that allow for large-scale architectural interventions. In All Nights (1999), Silveira fractures light and casts imaginary shadows throughout the interior architecture of El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Monterrey, Mexico. Conceived for the the plaza rotunda of a busy thoroughfare in Bogotá, Colombia, in Iluminada (2015), Silveira interrupts the urban landscape with a labyrinth and digital waterfall, displayed as animations on three curved LED panels. A soccer ball, imagined as a planetary body in orbit, cascades down the bleachers of the Pacaembu Soccer Stadium in Supersonic Goal (2004). In Stray Bullet (2018), a large-large-scale vinyl appliqué on the facade of Kunstmuseum Stuttgart, Germany suggests the illusion of glass punctured and shattered by a firing gun––alluding to gun violence in Brazil, as well as the fragility of the site for which it was envisioned. In Clouds (2001), blue and white threads of vinyl appear as if embroidered in cross-stitch over the glass ceiling of Florence’s Santa Maria Novella train station.