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Finding your way through the weird, sumptuously curving interior of Henrique Oliveira’s major installation at São Paulo’s 2010 Bienal was an experience that started out peculiar, quickly became intriguing, and ended with a shout of laughter and recognition. Could there be any better way to experience a work of art?
Covered in laminates of salvaged plywood, the installation, A origem do terceiro mundo – The Origin of the Third World – was a swollen, monstrous-looking structure set in one corner of the Bienal building. Stepping inside it, the initial feeling was of being inside a cave, where walls and floors swirled up to meet each other and passageways curved off upwards.
Deep inside, it dawned on you: this was no cave, but the belly of a beast. And then finding your way through, finally, and out the other side, one glance backwards made everything crystal clear: you had just emerged from an immense, rather splendid vagina.
For this show, 'Realidade Líquida' ('Liquid Reality') at Galeria Millan, the talented artist has been working on a piece based on a stack of 12 ‘excavated’ mattresses, sculpting a cloud of ‘condensation’ from the innards of the pile.
A second installation alters the shape of the gallery’s ground floor, creating a new, wood-lined space inside it, bulging with strange life. If it’s anything like Oliveira’s previous works, we’re looking forward to being amazed, dazzled and possibly a little bit tickled, too.