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Miami Art Week 2013: Brazil ArtFair

The debut of a new festival composed entirely of contemporary Brazilian art and design

by David Graver in Culture on 04 December 2013

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A new fair has entered the landscape of Miami's ever-expanding art week. Opening today, 4 December 2013, the Brazil ArtFair is housed in a spacious 25,000 square foot exposition tent, located near the Wynwood Art District. There, 15 Brazilian galleries, 20 leading design studios and hundreds of artists are showcasing works across the fine arts, culture and design. From innovative twists and traditional furniture all the way through to a dreamlike experiential installation, the fair brings global attention to established, emerging and also local talent.

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"The Brazilian art market has been growing consistently over the last few years. Contemporary artists are being sold for over $1 million while doing the major art fair and gallery circuits," Brazil ArtFair director, Michel Serebrinsky tells CH. "It's a matter of maturity and timing. This is a place to discover, beside what's already been established by larger, global galleries." Serebrinksky explains that he wants attention to be placed on fledgling work that introduces a new Brazil to those not so familiar. Most of the pieces shown display an artistry and sensibility not seen in the popular culture that's already filtered into the world market and consciousness. The director accomplishes this and offers "a sense of what Brazil for Brazilians is really about through imaginative selections and a refined representation of contemporary work."

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Among the work, we found plenty of inspiration in the furniture and household items, becoming especially smitten with the 2013 "Hybrids" series by design house Marton Estúdio. Colorful, banded patterns formed the basis of multifunctional tables and lamps, each incorporating plants or mirrors, coat-hangers and more. Each piece sits at the crossing of whimsy and well-thought usage.

In a centrally located presentation from Brazil's leading design studio Orchestra Brasil, artist Domingos Totora displayed a rounded bench formed from cardboard. Beyond sustainable, the item (one of many he creates in this manner) is also light, functional and pretty. It is not what you'd expect of compressed particles, because it isn't: Each piece is molded by hand and dried in the sun. Orchestra Brazil also presented Faro Design's "Cabideiro Laco" hangers. Drawing inspiration from tradition leather rope hangers, these bright cotton and carbon steel core iterations are both fully functional and unlike anything we've used in our closets before.

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We were also taken by Sao Paolo artist Sesper's collage-like, colorful, large-scale paintings. But the show stealer was Toz, whose "Metamorfose" series (2013) centers around the development of a character he refers to as Happiness. The series culminates in a black-lit room titled "Metamorfose 7" where the character not only occupies the walls, but bauble-like elements have taken over the entire space. The occasional street artist, based in Rio, balances ethereal developments through six portraits, until a point of full-on explosion, complete with sound effects.

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Among the other exhibition highlights, Multiplique Boutique delivers the opportunity to buy editions of famous Brazilian artwork, functioning as another entry point to this world. And recognizing that Brazil has a vast Asian immigrant population, a stunning presentation by The Brickellian, titled "West Encounters East" reveals a window into Brazilian artists whose heritage stemmed from Japan. Altogether, for the culture it delivers and the experiences it provides, the freshman fair—running until 8 December 2013—is worth a visit.

Photos by David Graver

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