The exhibition Samico Between Worlds [Rumors of War in Times of Peace] presents to the public of New York City fourteen woodcut pieces produced by the artist Gilvan Samico (1928 – 2013) in the period between 1997 and 2010. Curated by Marcio Harum, the exhibition will run in the Lower East Side from February 4th to March 5th.
The exhibit introduces to the American public one of the most important Latin American artists, whose career comprises 300 exhibitions in 30 different countries, awards in the Venice Biennale and works acquired by MoMA.
Born in Recife, located in the north-eastern region of Brazil, Samico and his artworks have been “rediscovered” after his death in 2013. With various solo and collective exhibitions in Brazil, his wood-cuts have been featured in the latest biennials that took place in the country. His work stands out and differs from his peers due to its universal language. Tapping from legends and myths while it reinvents the popular art of his birthplace by adding elements and themes from many other cultures. Samico has achieved, according to himself and art critics, what Jung called “Collective Unconscious,” a kind of common knowledge of legends, imagery and symbols from different cultures that are shared among human beings.
“Some people ask me about my fascination for Egyptian art because they see Egyptian influences in my prints. I’ve got nothing to say [in return], unless it is part of my experience in the collective unconscious. I don’t know. It is as if these old stories keep repeating themselves in [our] genes until they reach me. A certain critic once said that my woodcut pieces are impregnated with these essential symbols of popular culture. I think he is right.” – Samico quoted by Tânia Nogueira in the book Mythology and Cordel.
Considered one of the icons of the Armorial Movement, an art movement that sought to create Brazilian art that would stem from the indigenous, African and European elements that served as the base for his local culture, Samico adopted a more authorial interpretation of his universe in his latest works, which will be presented in Samico Between Worlds [Rumors of War in Times of Peace].
The curator Marcio Harum, who has been in charge of the São Paulo Cultural Center curatorship, one of the most important institutions of contemporary art in Brazil, added scheduled tarot reading sessions to the exhibition program as a mean of evidencing the recurring identification of Samico’s work with the aesthetics of tarot cards, and connect it to the practice of the artist’s widow, Célida Samico, who is a ballerina, yoga teacher and tarot reader.