Galeria Luisa Strina is pleased to present Transplanted (VW Brasilia), by Brazil born and US resident Clarissa Tossin. The artist works across video, sculpture, performance, and installation to reflect on the ways the built environment shapes us as subjects. Having grown up in Brasília, Brazil’s modern planned capital, made her aware of the global circulation of modernity images as well as their effects on the national and international psychologies. More recently, she has engaged with spaces and intertwining aesthetics where transnational histories of Brazil and the United States remain imprinted.
Transplanted (VW Brasilia), is a natural latex cast of a Volkswagen Brasilia. The first model entirely designed and manufactured by Volkswagen in Brazil, and named after the city which urban design emphasizes the usage of the car. A popular car, the Brasilia soon became a national design icon. The car used for the cast in Transplanted (VW Brasilia), is the central piece in the installation Brasília, Cars, Pools and Other Modernities, on view at the Hammer Museum’s Los Angeles Biennial, Made in L.A., until September 7, 2014.
While the sculptural process lends anthropomorphic characteristics to the object provoking reflections on the status of the car as a third identitary skin in consumer society, the use of latex also establishes a direct relationship with industry and its production processes.
Transplanted (VW Brasilia) intertwines Brazilian modernization symbols with a passage in Brazil’s latex history: Henry Wickham’s successful quest to smuggle seeds from the rubber tree, Hevea Brasiliensis, from the area of Santarém, in Brazil to Kew Gardens in London from where seedlings were dispatched to Malaysia thus dooming the Amazonian rubber boom and enabling the world monopoly on rubber production by the British. Another moment in the Amazon’s rubber exploitation history, this time by the Ford Company, is the starting point for the most recent body of work by the artist.
Clarissa Tossin has a BFA by Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado, São Paulo, Brazil and a MFA in Art by the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, CA.
Recent solo shows include: Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, US (2014); Brasília, Cars, Pools & Other Modernities, Artpace, San Antonio, Texas, US; Blind Spot, Blaffer Art Museum, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, US; Study for a Landscape, Sicardi Gallery, Houston, Texas, US (2013).
Recent group shows include: Liberdade em Movimento, Fundação Iberê Camargo, Porto Alegre, BR (curated by Jacopo Crivelli); Bringing the World into the World, The Queens Museum, New York, NY, US (curated by Hitomi Iwasaki); Made in L.A. 2014, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, US (curated by Connie Butler and Michael Ned Holte); Dispositivos para um mundo (im)possível, Roesler Hotel, São Paulo, BR (curated by Luisa Duarte); Unsettled Landscapes, SITE Santa Fe, NM, US (curated by Lucía Sanromán and Candice Hopkin), 2014.