• sweet spontaneous earth

    nara roesler curatorial nucleus

    february 27 – may 29, 2021
    nara roesler são paulo

  • Sweet Spontaneous Earth, named after E.E. Cummings' poem, presents a selection of works that engage with nature, as an ever-evolving, indecipherable and untamable force. As the poet so shrewdly suggested, humanity has pruriently attempted to understand nature since the beginning of our existence, only to be met with nature's steady and periodic answer, spring. Perhaps it is nature's answer to our common and unrelenting unrest, forcing us to face and become engulfed by spring, as a useful ruse to assuage our longing and compel us to slow down through its grandeur, to stop and observe, listen, breathe. The works presented hereby, coincide in their strive to capture and contemplate the awe, the moment where we gasp at the overwhelming nature of Earth.

    On one hand, certain artists have reflected upon the human habit of recording nature—Alberto Baraya and Cássio Vasconcellos for example, produce exercises on the historical trajectory of encounters with nature and how these may have matured in contemporary civilization. Others, such as Amelia Toledo extract parts of the Earth's anatomy, creating quite literal encounters with its beauty; Isaac Julien considers and disrupts the notions of beauty and preciousness in nature, established by humans; while Laura Vinci abruptly forces an encounter between the viewer and the unyielding, daunting and even violent essence of nature.


    Sweet Spontaneous Earth ultimately offers a reflection on how humans have reacted to what Cummings called the earth's rhythmic love, rhythmic in its existence, in its affection, in its strength, and in its fragility.



    Em uma árvore, em uma tarde are images extracted from a short-film, of the same name, that juxtaposes the contrast between urbanism and nature. The image captures the artist sitting on a tree while reading a book as if isolated from the intense movement in the streets, which in turn seem to ignore or simply not see her presence. The traffic of cars, buses, and trucks take on the role of the landscape, set in the background, while her actions intertwined with the delicate bloomed flowers offer a fable-like pause in the midst of a chaotic city.

    Her movements convey a placidity that seems to resist the unnerving speed of the streets under her, perhaps calling for a moment of reflection on one's surroundings and origins. Ultimately, the artist establishes and foregrounds a contrast between two realities that coexist yet seem to function independently, ignoring and overlooking each other, forcing the viewer to contemplate the fact that they are in fact inextricably linked and dependent on each other.

  • Brígida Baltar Em uma árvore, em uma tarde, 2001 photograph 27 x 39 cm | 10.6 x 15.4 in

    Brígida Baltar
    Em uma árvore, em uma tarde, 2001
    27 x 39 cm | 10.6 x 15.4 in

  • Brígida Baltar Feminino, 1994 closet and earth 190 x 90 x 70 cm | 74.8 x 35.4 x 27.6 in

    Brígida Baltar

    Feminino, 1994

    closet and earth

    190 x 90 x 70 cm | 74.8 x 35.4 x 27.6 in



    This body of work by Alberto Baraya is based on the idea of recording a territory's characteristics and documenting the experience of discovering the landscape. The series is particularly derived from the tradition of travelers and residents capturing and recording the profiles of cities, producing so-called panoramic paintings. 

    The works embody the customary artistic techniques used to represent the landscape as a means of contemplating space, seizing iconic elements of the city, and translating them onto a canvas—thus objects to be observed, contemplated, collected, and perhaps also re-interpreted. Following the principles of the artistic tradition, Alberto Baraya produced a series of works engaging with such imageries and iconography as a means of developing his own investigations into social phenomena. The landscape, flora, and fauna thus serve as a channel for the artist to notably explore questions of migration, exoticism, and interpretation.

  • Alberto Baraya Macaco con Caracol gigante africano (Callithrix jacchus con Achatina fulica), 2018 acrylic paint on canvas 40 x 50...

    Alberto Baraya
    Macaco con Caracol gigante africano

    (Callithrix jacchus con Achatina fulica), 2018
    acrylic paint on canvas
    40 x 50 cm | 15.7 x 19.7 x 1.8 in

    • Águia-pescadora en playa vermelha, en Pan de Azúcar, Rio de Janeiro, 2018 oil paint on canvas 23.6 x 31.5 x 1.8 in | 60 x 80 x 4,5 cm
      Águia-pescadora en playa vermelha, en Pan de Azúcar, Rio de Janeiro, 2018
      oil paint on canvas
      23.6 x 31.5 x 1.8 in | 60 x 80 x 4,5 cm
  • Alberto Baraya

    El Rio, 2005
    video, color



    Paulo Bruscky is one of Brazil’s most prolific and inventive artists of his generation and of our times. Since the 1970s, he has created a series of experiments spanning from actions in public spaces to announcements in newspapers, and from installations to videos, to name a few. 

    His participation in the Mail Art movement was of important historical relevance and received great recognition for revealing his practice’s capacity to cross boundaries and establish dialogues with artists in different locations, notably those of the Fluxus group. His relationship to language is present not only in his conceptual work but also in his poems and visual poetry. Despite formal aesthetics not being the artist’s main preoccupation, he has been able to effectively reinvent the every day, converting it into symbolical language. The book and collages presented hereby, are yet another example of his versatile and potent poetic gaze, which unites and transforms banal fragments from the everyday entwining language with elements found in and extracted from nature.

    • Letter from the rain, 2016 rain water on paper 7.1 x 5.1 in | 18 x 13 cm
      Letter from the rain, 2016
      rain water on paper
      7.1 x 5.1 in | 18 x 13 cm
    • Gravusenho Chuvado , 1973 / 2016 rain water on paper 15 x 7.9 in | 38 x 20 cm
      Gravusenho Chuvado , 1973 / 2016
      rain water on paper
      15 x 7.9 in | 38 x 20 cm


    Cristina Canale's Queda—meaning fall, as well as a waterfall in Portuguese—stems from a series of landscape works, which the artist began to produce in 1987. The body of work was characterized by Canale's use of fluid paint and solvent, which she threw onto the canvas and allowed it to spontaneously flow throughout the surface, in an effort to capture what she described as the phenomenology of paint. 

    With this, Canale gave her compositions an element of organic fluidity and smoothness that emerged with the paint's organic movement, and thus evoked the undefined, ever-changing, and perhaps serendipitous nature of landscapes. In the artist’s words, during this time her work “became progressively softer until it brought me to more liquid landscapes: crosses became islands for example, and circles, sea waves. I reached a world full of water, seas, rivers, lagoons, surrounded by mountains and islands, [...], backgrounds of Renaissance paintings and of Rio de Janeiro, of course. Once I reached landscapes, I breathed more freely; I was able to release color and material."

  • Cristina Canale Fall, 1990 mixed media on canvas 250 x 115 cm | 98.4 x 45.3 in

    Cristina Canale
    Fall, 1990
    mixed media on canvas
    250 x 115 cm | 98.4 x 45.3 in



    Chaves often makes unexceptional elements of daily life the subject of his pieces, so as to highlight the extraordinary that may inhabit the everyday. His works channel insightful and witty observations from everyday life, capturing the irony, eccentricity, and absurdity that often lies in details we might be missing.

    A árvore que caminha functions within this aspect of the artist's practice-the video captures individuals walking under the aerial roots of a large tree in Campo de Santana, Rio de Janeiro. With his characteristic observational-often described as flaneur-like humor-Chaves records the occasional passerby who reaches up towards the tree's limbs, touching them, almost high-fiving the roots, capturing an instant of unconscious complicity and momentaneous unison between both.

  • Marcos Chaves

    A árvore que caminha, 2008

    digital video


  • Cristais is part of another body of work by Marco Chaves that has also come to form an important part of his most recent production. In this series, the artist composes a landscape image, "so as to preserve traditional perspective, but, at the same time, it is articulated in isolated parts that can have a life of their own, each part being in an of itself a 'window to the world'," in the words of curator Ligia Canongia.

  • Marcos Chaves Cristais, 2016 digital print on silk 190 x 230 cm | 74.8 x 90.6 in

    Marcos Chaves
    Cristais, 2016
    digital print on silk
    190 x 230 cm | 74.8 x 90.6 in



    Cao Guimaraes Filme em anexo (2015) was commissioned on the occasion of the 34th Panorama of Brazilian Art, at Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP), curated by Aracy Amaral and Paulo Miyada.

     With the exhibition focusing on the overlap between utilitarian and non-utilitarian manifestations of art specifically in the context of ancient productions, Cao Guimaraes engaged with a contemporary form of sambaquis—huge piles, or rather hills, of mollusk valves, put together by ancient inhabitants of the southern Brazilian coast. Indeed, he encountered under an overpass in the city of Florianópolis, an area occupied by workers whose activity consisted of separating mollusks from their valves, collaterally creating a contemporary form of sambaqui. The film thus consists of current images of landscapes that closely resemble the work and productions of ancient civilizations, presenting contemporary parallels of sambaquieiros, and thus establishing continuity between present and past existences. In Paulo Miyada's words, 'the present offered him an extemporaneous image, an echo from an imagined past and an annunciation of what will be the ruins of today found in the future.' 

  • Cao Guimarães
    Filme em anexo, 2015
    digital video, HD, color



    Lina Bo Bardi's Footsteps is a photographic work that emerged with the production of the artist’s iconic film titled Stones Against Diamonds, inspired by a letter written by the Italo-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. Throughout the film, Julien engages with excerpts of, and overarching themes from the letter, where Bo Bardi commends the beauty of semi-precious stones over precious ones, such as diamonds. 

    Stones Against Diamonds was staged and shot over five days in the remote Vatnajökull region in South East Iceland Austurland, inside glacial caves through which actress Vanessa Myrie—a spirit guide—takes the viewer from one landscape to another. Throughout the film and photographic works, Julien referenced signature elements of Bo Bardi's body of work, including reproductions of the architect's iconic glass and concrete easels, and a handmade spiral staircase.


    Ultimately, Stones Against Diamonds and Lina Bo Bardi's Footsteps specifically, are geared towards portraying and emphasizing how some of the most beautiful elements of nature, can also be the least precious in the conventional—and socially constructed —sense of the words.

  • Isaac Julien
    Lina Bo Bardi's Footsteps (Stones Against Diamonds series), 2016
    Endura Ultra photograph 
    180 x 245,1 x 7,5 cm | 70.9 x 96.5 x 3 cm (each)



    In Karin Lambrecht's most recent works, one denotes a tightening of the relationship between her painting and the natural environment. In 2010, the artist traveled to Jerusalem, where the landscape, its vastness, light, and rich hues of yellow, ochre, and sand, had an enormous impact on her imagination. 

    While the experience gave rise to a body of work titled Territórios de areia (2011) characterized by ample fields of vivid and complementing colors, the artist also created a series of works, or rather experiments, on paper that engage with the grandiosity and undomesticated nature of such untamed landscapes. Vento, montanhas enlaçados and Nascimento do vento—neither drawings nor paintings but rather material and pictorial investigations—juxtapose representations of human parts extending into and intertwining with gushes of wind, seemingly foregrounding the inextricable relationship between both elements.

  • Karin Lambrecht Untitled, 2004 pigments and soil on canvas 69 x 75 cm | 27.2 x 29.5 in

    Karin Lambrecht
    Untitled, 2004
    pigments and soil on canvas
    69 x 75 cm | 27.2 x 29.5 in



    Vik Muniz’s Earthworks series, stemmed from the artist's interest in the paradoxical nature of site-specific works created by artists such as Robert Smithson, Michael Heizer, and Walter de Maria, in the 1960s and 1970s. 

    The artist was particularly intrigued by the fact that most of these works were ephemeral and known only through photographs and drawings, in his words “On the Pictures of Earthworks, I use the earth as a canvas, a support, perhaps saying that no matter how we try to distill the materiality that shapes our consciousness into a symbolic, linguistic environment, we are only left with that same primitive material canvas as the unexceptional means of fixing and transmitting our knowledge.” Muniz based the series Earthworks on a play on scale and illusion—on the one hand, he produced a series of works that consisted of line drawings executed with soil, ranging between four-hundred and six-hundred feet long and photographed from a helicopter. On the other hand, he produced drawings of approximately thirty centimeters, and also photographed them from above. The images were taken with the same camera, printed following the same technique, and in the same size, making it difficult to tell the difference between the two versions. With this, the artist produced images that unveil the fragility of perception, the ease with which it can be manipulated, and forcing us to reassess what has been learned and taught through the medium of photography. 

  • Vik Muniz Earthworks Brooklyn: Brooklyn, NY (Amarillo Ramp, after Smithson), 1999/2013 digital c-print 50 x 78,5 cm | 19.7 x...

    Vik Muniz
    Earthworks Brooklyn: Brooklyn, NY 

    (Amarillo Ramp, after Smithson), 1999/2013
    digital c-print
    50 x 78,5 cm | 19.7 x 30.9 in

  • Vik Muniz
    Earthworks Brooklyn: Brooklyn, NY (Lightning Field, after Walter de Maria), 1999/2013
    digital c-print
    50,3 x 75,9 cm | 19.8 x 29.9 in



    Tomie Ohtake's Sem título, is part of a body of work produced in the 1990s and often referred to as Cosmic Paintings. The works are characterized by their formal evocation of clouds, vapors, nebulas, stellar masses, galaxies, celestial bodies, or the formation of the universe, as listed by critic and curator Frederico Morais. 

    He notably goes on to describe the artist's brush stroke as vibratile, or "more touch than extension annuls or even destroys the precision of the curved line, ending up in forms that are dispersed and enveloped by gaseous, foggy, cloudy matter. Not by chance, the artist substitutes the bodily opaqueness of oil by acrylic, which favors transparencies and glazing." Ultimately, Sem título demonstrates an attempt to move away from structure, and allow for more porous, undomesticated, and dispersed compositions that dialogue with the spontaneity of natural and cosmic occurrences.

  • Tomie Ohtake
    Untitled, 1996
    oil paint on canvas
    200 x 200 cm | 78.7 x 78.7 in



    Marcelo Silveira's work questions and challenges long-established categories related to art, such as sculpture, folk art, craftwork, and collecting. His works often depart from the idea of materiality and how anything can become a medium, spearheading his use of wood, leather, paper, metal, plastic, and glass amongst many other materials. 

    In line with this, Silveira's investigation also engages with the use and purpose of materials or objects, which he suggests is defined by a common, socially determined repertoire and can be uprooted by recreating familiar shapes using unexpected materials. Notably, De natureza viva offers a repurposing of wood pieces into a biomorphic sculpture—the traditional functionality of the medium and its past uses, thus comes to be replaced by a nearly figurative allusion to the malleability, smoothness, and bloom of organic, perhaps even living elements.

  • Marcelo Silveira De natureza viva, 2005 / 2006 blade curved on cajacatinga wood 35 x 246 x 96 cm, 54...

    Marcelo Silveira
    De natureza viva, 2005 / 2006
    blade curved on cajacatinga wood
    35 x 246 x 96 cm, 54 x 126 x 75 cm and 62 x 120 x 145 cm
    13.8 x 96.9 x 37.8 in, 21.3 x 49.6 x 29.5 in and 24.4 x 47.2 x 57.1 in



    Amelia Toledo’s series of sculptures titled Impulso are part of the artist’s quintessential engagement with rocks, through which she investigated the colors, brightness, transparency, and shape of the Earth’s flesh’. According to the artist, ‘working with large blocks of stone involves and surprises me. I learned that stones benefit the environment. 

    I live with them in my daily life and share this experience through creation. From the gem to the boulder, I do only the minimum to highlight the stone’s qualities and guide the work towards adapting it to space.’ The stones are merely polished to reveal their internal makeup, the long rifts pressed against each other creating lines that unveil their ancient origins and refract the light that shines on and into them. Ultimately, Toledo extracts parts from the interior of the earth and places them into chosen environments, establishing an intertwinement between time and space, where Toledo and her work seek territories of synergy for them to flourish as they come to interact with both the natural elements and the viewers that surround it.

  • Amelia Toledo Impulso, 2017 fuchsite on concrete column 132 x 44 x 25 cm | 52 x 17.3 x 9.8...

    Amelia Toledo
    Impulso, 2017
    fuchsite on concrete column
    132 x 44 x 25 cm | 52 x 17.3 x 9.8 in

    • Impulso, 2017 rose quartz on concrete column 56.7 x 15 x 11.8 in
      Impulso, 2017
      rose quartz on concrete column
      56.7 x 15 x 11.8 in
    • Impulso, 2000's orange calcite on concrete column 50.4 x 11.4 x 10.2 in
      Impulso, 2000's
      orange calcite on concrete column
      50.4 x 11.4 x 10.2 in
    • Impulso, 2000's zoisite on concrete column 55.5 x 15 x 10.2 in
      Impulso, 2000's
      zoisite on concrete column
      55.5 x 15 x 10.2 in


    Viagem Pitoresca pelo Brasil is a series inspired by European imagery from the early 19th century that resulted from a surge and systematization of expeditions from Europe to Brazil for artists and scientists to explore, record, and map the country's flora and fauna. 

    In this series, Cássio Vasconcellos established a dialogue with this historical occurrence by re-enacting the travelers' work and going deep into Brazilian forests, especially into the Mata Atlântica. As he advanced through the south-east of the country, Vasconcellos photographed the different sceneries, always altering the sensibility and exposition of his camera. The images were subsequently edited digitally to convey the same sense of density and mystery captured in the records of the time. As such, Viagem Pitoresca pelo Brasil establishes a relationship between contemporary technology and historical aesthetics, while conveying the intimidating, daunting, and yet enchanting nature of the Brazilian landscape.

  • Cássio Vasconcellos A picturesque voyage through Brazil #80, 2016 inkjet print on cotton paper 75 x 150 cm | 29.5...

    Cássio Vasconcellos
    A picturesque voyage through Brazil #80, 2016
    inkjet print on cotton paper
    75 x 150 cm | 29.5 x 59.1 in



    Laura Vinci's Branco is a video that presents close-up images of a waterfall from different perspectives and distances. The image is in fact a compilation of details of waterfalls that foreground the entire process of water breaking, being pulled downward hitting the ground with such strength that it bounces off, and spreads into thousands of drops, and into a mist that results from the power of the movement. 

    With this, the film captures several of the artist's recurring and intertwining research on exploring the relationship between body, ephemerality, and space. Vinci views the latter as a complex organism that mediates the interactions between the elements that inhabit it, all while remaining susceptible to the constant passing of time. As such, her work seeks to investigate how matter moves or is altered, showcasing its transitory nature and stimulating new understandings of our surroundings—the waterfall offers a microcosm of the artist's investigations, with its ever-changing states and positions, an ephemeral existence that seems to serve as a physical image for the otherwise intangible idea of passing time.

  • Laura Vinci
    Branco, 2005
    DV | DVD

  • Laura Vinci
    Quem não cuida de si que é terra erra, 2021
    borosilicate glass, garnet stone and gold-plated brass
    Ø 34 cm | Ø 13.4 in