Iole de Freitas (born 1945 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

“I am always trying to create a balance between cultural, institutional, mental and emotional positions, searching for an impact that is both visual and physical, and which sharpens and empowers the perception of those who come across it.” (Iole de Freitas, 2013)

Easiness on a large scale

Like billowing sails, Iole de Freitas’s curved polycarbonate sheets float through the specifically provided spaces. Held by elegantly swooping steel tubes, her swinging sculptures dance through the space, at times translucid, opaque at others, but above all apparently effortless and weightless. The concept of static weight is utterly foreign to them. Obviously no composition of Beethoven’s, it is rather the endlessly light, playful, almost boldly elegant virtuosity of Mozart that shines through.

documenta XII, 2007, Kassel, Fridericianum, Photography: Roman Märs

It is amazing how Iole de Freitas manages the vast spaces. She commands even the largest formats with apparent ease, much like Oscar Niemeyer his architectural constructions. Brazilians simply do not seem to be cut out for smallness: Burle Marx was another artist who reached the peak of his performance mainly in his very large projects.

Iole de Freitas` works, however, are always light, playful, and elegant; never does she come close to bulkiness, weightiness and ease are always kept in a balance. Her works oscillate between latent violence and gentle sensuousness, smoothly and imperceptibly drifting into erotic physicalness. Art could hardly be more abstract, and yet, her works exude an incredibly strong sensual and bodily presence. The immanent movement, the streaming flow emanating from her works, is owed to Iole’s outstanding spatial perceptiveness. Like in music, the inherent latent dynamics holds the potential brisance and eroticism of these works that—if in a tuned-down, elegant manner—truly explode in space. In this effect, Iole de Freitas is most closely related to the Italian Futurists, whose universally timeless expression she shares.

Sculpting space

Para que servem as paredes do museo?, 2013, Casa Daros, Rio de Janeiro, Photography: Sergio Araujo

Where an artist like Waltercio Caldas tends to relate to space in a more static manner, she reaches out into space, occupies it, and makes it visible, tangible, perceptible, and sensible in the first place. Iole de Freitas’ sculptural elements do not successively fill out or fill up the space like other, conventional «sculptures»; instead, they virtually dissolve in space—and, interestingly, this is exactly the process that forms the impression of a space. With very few, absolutely minimal interventions, the artist makes space comprehensible and perceptible. She sculpts the space, not the materials she uses.

In doing so, her procedure seems absolutely unconstrained, organic, and natural. In all of her spatial installations, whether at the documenta XII 2007 in Kassel, the Centro Cultural do Banco do Brasil in Rio de Janeiro 2005, or the Centro Hélio Oiticíca in Rio 2000, she always places her own «architecture» alongside the architecture that is already there in a supposedly casual, easy, and playful manner, thereby effortlessly balancing out existing disequilibria. Rather than creating antagonistic structures, she effectively and elegantly stages her specific spatial interpretations. Her works come across as a matter of course, as if they have always been there. They convey a stunning presence, a cumulated, intense concentration, and an inherent will power one can hardly escape. Iole de Freitas herself once described it so beautifully concise and at the same time so poetically sphinx-like: «Beauty will always be a liberating element.»

O peso de cada um, 2015, MAM, Rio de Janeiro

www.ioledefreitas.com.br

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