Rubens Gerchman (1942 - 2008)


    Rubens Gerchman began his career in the context of the new figurative tendency that emerged in Brazil the 1960s. He participated in exhibitions such as Opinião 65 and Nova Objetividade Brasileira, held at the Museum of Modern Art of Rio de Janeiro, which have become paradigmatic of the artistic production in Brazil of the mid to late 60s. The notoriety of these events was further emphasised by their association with the rise of the Tropicália musicians, for whom Gerchman designed the cover of the inaugural 'Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis' LP. The artist's portrait of Lindonéia ('The Gioconda of the Suburbs'), also inspired the song A Bela Lindonéia, composed by Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, and performed by Nara Leão.

    In the early 60s Gerchman was acquainted with artists such as Antonio Dias, Carlos Vergara, Roberto Magalhães and Wesley Duke Lee, artists who developed a bright, figurative visual language that, although related to pop art, retained a strong relation to the culture and politics of Brazil at that difficult moment. Towards the end of the decade, possibly influenced by concrete poetry and the Neoconcrete poems of Ferreira Gullar, his work began to deal with words: their meaning and their graphic qualities.

    He travelled to the USA in 1967 where he held 10 solo exhibitions and remained until 1973. Upon his return to Brazil he directed various films including the 35mm Triunfo Hermético, and the super-8 shorts ValCanal and Behind the Broken Glass. From 1975 to 79 he was Director of the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage. He was director and a founding member of the editorial team of Malasartes, the art Journal that reopened a platform for discussion of contemporary art after the military repression. He returned to the USA with a Simon Guggenheim fellowship in 1978 and in 1980 received a prize at the II Bienal Ibero-Americana for drawing in Mexico. In 1981 he was invited by Lina Bo Bardi to produce a panel at SESC-Pompéia in São Paulo. He has exhibited widely with solo exhibitions in Brazil and around the world.

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