When we think of Noah's Ark, the enormous vessel in the Genesis, by which God spared Noah and remnant of all the world's animals from the big flood, one of the most beloved biblical stories, we tend to think of new beginnings, of spiritual temptation, of a white dove, and the constant transformation of human kind. But for São-Paulo-based Campana Brothers, the story of Noah’s Art is a metaphor for chaos, for the world’s disorder, and for its salvation. In the new solo exhibition “Hybridism,” opened tonight at Friedman Benda, the imagery of the Ark has been utilized by Fernando and Humberto Campana as the point of departure for their commentary on the state of the world. The pieces are woven within a clear narrative, and they are all crafted in sustainable, recycled materials, that symbolize the relationship between men and nature, and are ought to be perceived as one of the agents that have the potential to change this disorder. It is the combination of storytelling; creative energy that is emotional rather than rational in the process of creating; materials which are sensitive to the environment and to eco-friendly sources; the use of local, Brazilian craftsmanship skills; and innovative use of materials, all of which set to define the identity of the objects in this exhibition. The pieces are set within turquoise spots that suggest the flood associated with the story of Noa's Ark. Here, in the gallery space, dozens of animals, all cast in aluminum, iron, and bronze, all are stuck one with the other, look as if they are floating on the eternal water. You can view the objects in various layers, and this is what I found mostly intriguing about this exhibition. They can be viewed as functional objects, sofas, benches, candlesticks. But the can also be viewed as baroque sculptures, or as works of art that carry powerful and challenging narratives. Or they can be seen as the combination of all, which was my own take. The exhibition closes down on October 14.
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