Don’t miss a conversation with Sergio Allevato in a video which is part of the Catalyst Artist Video Project, an ongoing series of video conversations with artists.
Work by Sergio Allevato can be enjoyed in the exhibition Converging Trajectories – Crossing Borders, Building Bridges curated by Ted G. Decker. The exhibition opens at Modified Arts (http://modifiedarts.org) in Downtown Phoenix, Arizona on Friday, August 20th, 2010.
August 5th – September 4th, 2010
Artur Fidalgo Gallery, Rio de Janeiro
At first glance Sergio Allevato´s expertly rendered watercolor paintings look as if they are illustrating flora, like Margaret Mee’s traditional botanical art. However, upon closer examination, the observer discovers mimicry in parts of the anatomy of the plants, characters of Disney, Hanna Barbera and others that delight and inhabit the imagination of children. The characteristic ears of Mickey become a part of Magnolia seeds; the trunk of the Dasylirion take the form of the profile of Speedy Gonzales´ face; the fruit of the ginko biloba plant endemic to Japan is Hello Kitty´s head.
In the series “Botanic Atlas” the most famous cartoons of each country – among them Mortadelo, Spain; Mickey Mouse, United States; Speedy Gonzales, Mexico – appear in plants endemic to those places. Allevato proposes a game that involves extensive research of botany and the nationality and cultural territory of the characters in animated drawings. For example, in the series “Rio de Janeiro” the pistils of a bromeliad native to that region, the Alcantarea imperialis, become Zé Carioca, his girlfriend Rosinha and his nephews which were cartoon characters created by Disney to represent the cariocas, people who were born in Rio de Janeiro.
The viewer sport of closer examination soon reveals that the cartoon character forms an integral part of the plants’ reproductive organs thereby revealing multi-faceted layers for interpretation of Allevato’s paintings. The viewer recognizes a sexually aroused Pinocchio as the androceu of an amaryllis. Both the drawing that scientifically describes the botanical species and the cartoon character are displaced. They remit respectively the control of nature and the purity of childhood. The image has an ironic smile in the corner of the lips.
What is the meaning of an asexual Disney character appearing in the sexual organ of a plant? Why do cultural and natural elements dispute a territory? The unexpected mixture of disparate fields leaves the voyeuristic observer distrustful as if he/she is facing something malicious in which things such as infancy, nature and culture are not as they seem.
Sergio Allevato’s work is included in the permanent collections of Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro; Museum of Modern Art, Bahia; American Museum of Natural History, New York; Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C.; and others, and in a growing number of international private collections. He was selected to participate in a residency at Kew Gardens, London after winning the Margaret Mee Prize, and was chosen to be an artist-in-residence for nine months at the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum, Tucson. He received the Acquisition Prize in the 14th Art Exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia in 2007. In 2008, he earned a Master in Fine Arts at Goldsmiths College, UK. Allevato currently lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
-Text by Fernando Gerheim, Art Critic and PhD in Comparative Literature (with additional text by Ted G. Decker)
Artur Fidalgo Gallery
Rua Siqueira Campos, 143 loja 147 a 150, 2nd floor
Copacabana – Rio de Janeiro – RJ, Brazil, 22.031-900
Monday to Friday – 10am to 7pm, Saturday – 10am to 2pm and by appointment
Video conversation with Sergio Allevato, May 2010
A casual conversation with Rio de Janeiro-based artist Sergio Allevato in May, 2010. Gain insight into the ideas, art making process, and an get an exclusive glimpse at this amazing artist.
Produced by Ted Decker for Catalyst Artist Video Project. Film editing by Chico Fernandes.