Believe in the power of bread. That was the idea behind Japanese artist Tatsumi Orimoto's "Bread Man" performance art series in the '90s. Meant as a unifying symbol of communication, he made his name with the body of work which involved global travel to places like Nepal and Germany with loaves of bread tied around his head while a puzzled public looked or laughed on.
Now MASP, or the Art Museum of São Paulo (where thieves recently jacked Picasso and Candido Portinari artworks which were found a few weeks later leaning against a house in a favela), is presenting a heady retrospective exhibit—1,000 photographs, 160 drawings and 10 videos—of the bizarre but fascinating artist.
In addition to photos of "Bread Man," the show includes "Art Mama," moving photographs by Orimoto examining his dear mother who suffers from Alzheimer's and depression. By focusing so intently on his subject, he means to rescue her (and those handicapped in general) from the outer limits of society. His mother makes up a large chunk of his work up to today and reflects how much of a part of his life she has become since she's under his 24-hour care.
Other works at the show include posed photos of Orimoto boxing and others of him laying among chickens with a large clock hanging from his neck. All in all, it's spectacular stuff.
The Orimoto exhibit is his first retrospective outside of his home country and helps commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first arrival of Japanese immigrants to Brazil.
Tatsumi Orimoto Retrospective
Through 6 April 2008
Avenida Paulista, 1578
tel. +55 (11) 3251 5644