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Leonor Antunes

joints, voids and gaps

Mudam Luxembourg’s Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion is the site for a new exhibition of recent sculpture by the acclaimed artist Leonor Antunes (b. 1972, Lisbon). Antunes has created a new installation that responds to the physical qualities and proportions of this iconic architectural space designed by Ieoh Ming Pei (b. 1917, Guangzhou; d. 2019, New York).

For her exhibition at Mudam, Antunes has conceived of an expanded sculptural environment that occupies the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir pavilion and the glass-walled walkway that serves as its entrance. The installation is composed of a suspended structure made from steel and tied cords that doubles the hexagonal profile of the pavilion and serves to frame existing and new sculptures. They echoe the artist’s free-standing light sculptures, and a new body of so-called ‘climbing’ sculptures made in situ from knotted cord and leather. Anchoring the installation horizontally is a new floor piece designed by Antunes in reference to painted volume studies by the artist Lygia Clark (b. 1920, Belo Horizonte; d. 1988, Rio de Janeiro). The floor work links the exhibition at Mudam with the artist’s recent exhibition at MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo and in the Casa de Vidro (Glass House) designed by architect Lino Bo Bardi (b. 1914, Rome; d. 1992, São Paulo). The title of this exhibition refers to Bo Bardi’s design and its joints, voids and gaps.

The sculptures of Antunes are often conceived and installed in response to a given spatial situation, its architecture and history as well as the physical or sensory experience of that place. Her works draw upon research that has encompassed less visible figures within the history of Modernist architecture and design such as architects Eileen Gray (b. 1878, Enniscorthy; d. 1976, Paris), Egle Trincanato (b. 1910, Rome; d. 1998, Venice), and Carlo Scarpa (b. 1906, Sendai; d. 1978, Venice), designers Anni Albers (b. 1899, Berlin; d. 1994, Orange) and Clara Porset (b. 1895, Matanzas; d. 1981, Los Angeles), and the artists Lygia Clark and Mary Martin (b. 1907, Folkestone; d. 1969, London). Antunes interprets their forms, motifs and measures in materials and textures such as rope, wood, cork, leather and brass, and a sculptural vocabulary inspired by handcrafted and artisanal techniques.

Working at different scales and through processes of knotting, sewing, beading and weaving, she creates spatial environments composed of draping grids, and suspended, free-standing and climbing forms that constitute a visual and sculptural choreography and whose visual narratives are woven through time and through space.

Leonor Antunes. joints, voids and gaps is part of a new programme of exhibitions in which artists are invited to create works for the Henry J. and Erna D. Leir Pavilion of Mudam.

Biographic notes
Leonor Antunes (b. 1972, Lisbon) has held solo exhibitions at MASP – Museu de Arte de São Paulo (2019); Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2018); Museo Tamayo, Mexico (2018); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2017); Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (2017); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016); CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2016); New Museum, New York (2015); Kunsthalle Basel (2013). In 2019 Antunes represented Portugal at the 58th Venice Biennale. Her work has been exhibited in significant international surveys including the 12th Gwangju Biennale (2018); 57th Venice Biennale (2017); 8th Berlin Biennale (2014). She was awarded the Zurich Art Prize in 2019. Her work is held in major public collections including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris; Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon; Serralves Foundation, Porto. Antunes lives and works in Berlin.

Credits

Curators:
  • Suzanne Cotter
    Nelly Taravel