In a world in which information is constantly crossing boundaries, it is crucial to pay attention to how fast young talented visual artists have been incorporating formal, stylistic and pictorial elements to their work. André Mendes is one such case.
To me, one the of most interesting aspects of his body of work is an unpretentious affirmation of a tradition genuinely born out of a kind of freedom that is almost sarcastic in the way the artist uses his skills as painter and drawer. One needs only to remember André’s many public and private murals in order to grasp his impressive technique. They are executed in both ceramics and new industrial techniques he creates and develops himself. Always aware of the many different kinds of painting styles, specific methods, scenes and tendencies in the art world today, Mendes draws, manipulates and organizes the elements in his works with such ability that it allows him a “deliberate” use of pictorial language, a natural procedure that stands between the commitment to conceptual research and a purely aesthetic experience.
His gaze skilfully knows and recognizes a great part of the extensive modern pictorial tradition, even provocatively better than many more experienced and renowned artists today. His contact with art from an early age, or maybe the times he has lived abroad in Spain, France and Australia, or maybe even his many trips to different parts of Europe, where he has had the chance to see in person the works of many of his favourite artists, like Tapiés, have most certainly contributed to his education as an artist. Luckily for us, however, despite his great ability with form, Andre is not a lazy artist, he does not settle for what he knows and masters. On the contrary, he is restless, active, apprehensive, all qualities that I think every good artist must have.
In the fight between balancing and letting go, fixing and breaking the limits of the frame, in the position and disposition of colours and shapes, Andrés’s recent work has presented us with a conceptual characteristic that is essential to every artist’s body of work and, the way I see it, it is not only worth appreciating his art and his talent, it also ennobles us, as spectators, his much deserved success.
Tony Camargo (artist)
My New Art Projects
At the moment my work flees screen delineation, extending to the space, flirting with the sculptural and three-dimensional world. I am moving towards sculpture as a painter. Creating sculptural installations in imaginary places. Using sketches, models and prototypes, dealing with the relation of human/architectural scale, to a monumental scale. The progress of materials research provide an enlargement of the conceptual issues. Expand the idea in
my research on the viewer’s relationship to the art object, to relationships between people.
Scultorical installations in monumental scale, give the work to be a meeting place for people and not just the actual space of the work, but a place of living. I explore the expanded field concept in which the artwork is not made from a reflection only on the specific nature of its medium or material issues, as painting, bronze or marble, but as thought from a universe of terms regarded as oppositions in a cultural situation.
André Mendes, 2016
André Mendes (born in 1979)
Advanced Painting III – UFPR, Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba – Brazil
Metal Engraving – Solar do Barão, Curitiba, Brazil
Drawing Expertise – IDEP Image and Design School, Barcelona – Spain
Degree in Graphic Design, PUC – PR, Curitiba – Brazil
Main Solo Shows
Solo Show André Mendes, Matèria Gallery, Rome, Italy
Solo Show André Mendes – Centre Culturel Cloître des Billettes, Paris, France
Solo Project Art Basel 2016, Ricardo Fernandes Gallery, Basel, Switzerland
Espacial, Open Studio Exhibition, Curitiba, Brazil
Art Expo Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
André Mendes Solo, Galeria Zilda Fraletti, Curitiba, Brazil
Falando de Arte, Museu Guido Viaro, Curitiba, Brazil
Urban Gallery, Brookfiel Incorporations, Curitiba, Brazil
COLORES, Galeria Zilda Fraletti, Curitiba, Brazil
Deconstruction, Espaço Cultural BRDE, Curitiba, Brasil
Traços, Porto Esfera, Porto, Portugal
Main Collective Shows
aestival 07, Ricardo Fernandes Gallery at Cloître des Billettes Cultural Center, Paris, France
aestival 06, Ricardo Fernandes Gallery at Cloître des Billettes Cultural Center, Paris, France
Nasi Campur, TAKSU Gallery Singapore, Singapore
+ (Over)Laid, Galeria InterAtividade, Curitiba, Brazil
Total, Farol Galeria, Circuito Bienal Vento Sul, Curitiba, Brazil
Total, Galeria Zilda Fraletti, Circuito Bienal Vento Sul, Curitiba, Brazil
Tropikos, Hof Art Space, Bangkok, Thailand
Limited Edition, Casa Lab, Curitiba, Brazil
Salon of Contempory Art of Ponta Grossa – First Prize, Brazil
National Salon of Art, Itajaí, Brazil
Art Expo Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Art Expo Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Elementares, André Mendes and Fernando Franciosi, Contemp. Art Museum of Paraná (MAC PR), Curitiba, Brazil
ColorFlow – André Mendes and Rimon Guimarães, Galeria RAS, Barcelona, Spain
Águas do Amanhã, Museu Oscar Niemeyer (MON CT), Curitiba, Brazil
MOB + ART BICICLE and MOBILITY, Solar do Barão, Curitiba, Brazil
Estado da Arte, 40 years of Contemporary Art in the State of Paraná, Coletivo Interlux Arte Livre, Curitiba, Brazil
Museu Oscar Niemeyer (MON CT), Curitiba, Brazil
Self Portrait, Casa Andrade Muricy, Curitiba, Brazil
V Bienal Vento Sul, Projeto Grade Sobre Grade, Coletivo Interlux Arte Livre, Curitiba, Brazil
SktaeArt, SkateRIP, FAD, Barcelona, Spain
IN_VERSOS, Estreita Galeria, Curitiba, Brazil
Cicloviáerea, Cooperation on Jarbas Lopes Project, CCSP, São Paulo, Brazil
SINTOMAS, Centro Cultural Solar do Barão, Museu da Gravura Cidade de Curitiba, Curitiba, Brazil
Coletivo Interlux Arte Livre, Underground Galleries, Curitiba, Brazil
Art in Circulation – Coletivo Interlux Arte Livre, Caixa Cultural, Curitba, Brazil
IX Salão Graciosa de Artes Plásticas, Curitiba, Brazil
MOB – Art Bicicle and Mobility, Centro Cultural São Lourenço, Curitiba, Brazil
VIII Salão Graciosa de Artes Plásticas, First Price, Curitiba, Brazil
Collective IDEP, IDEP Image and Design School, Barcelona, Spain
2015 Tropikos, Hof Art Space, Bangkok, Thailand
2012 Kakiseni International Art Residency, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2008 Jarbas Lopes Residency, Maricá, RJ, Brazil
2013 First Prize at the National Salon of Art, Itajaí, Brazil
2005 First Prize at the VIII Salão Graciosa de Artes Plásticas, Curitiba, Brazil
Main Galleries, Museums and Institutions Collections
GRPCOM Gazeta do Povo News, Curitiba, Brazil
Paraná Institute of Oncology, Curitiba, Brazil
Ricardo Fernandes Gallery, Paris, France
Santa Cruz Hospital, Curitiba, Brazil
Secretary of Culture of Ponta Grossa, Brazil
Zilda Fraletti Gallery, Curitiba, Brazil
Main Private Collections
Alexander Reish, Dubai, Arab Emirates
Andrew Jong, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Carlos Rebelo Gloguer, Curitiba, Brazil
Consuelo Cornelsen, Curitiba, Brazil
David Silveira Neto, Zagreb, Croatia
Frank Honjo, Curitiba, Brazil
Gal Costa, São Paulo, Brazil
Guilherme Mendes, Singapure
Melinda Looi, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Najat Salameh and Mathieu Sarracanie, Basel, Switzerland
Professor Hyperides Zanello Square, Curitiba, Brazil
Sami Korhonen and Ricardo Fernandes, Paris, France
Main Art Residencies
Tropikos, Hof Art Space, Bangkok, Thailand
Kakiseni Internationa Art Residency, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Jarbas Lopes Residency, Maricá, Brazil
Here we have an artist who insists on painting – the emphasis is also a revolutionary trait of art. I say insists, not in the sense of stubbornly resisting new trends, but in the sense of perseverance which gives more force to a work of art, because this type of obstinance is excellent and especially essential to the artist. Here André Mendes presents a series of works that invites the viewer to feel the vibrancy of the colors and how they play in our eyes.
Starting from the plasticity of the canvases and how they behave – André’s Mendes searches the form that arises from the viscosity of the colors, and features seductive objects that appear organic and who, without the slightest calculated movement, solidify and invigorate the discussion between the painting and the paint. The creative impulses of André’s works can be translated by the words of Cézanne: “when color is at its richest, form is at its fullest”. Persistence allows us find color control on an impeccable surface.
The contact with the last works of Andre Mendes surprise the viewer when its various masses of colors create a space inhabited by brush strokes, floating spaces in which the various layers overlap creating a field immersion to the viewer. The strong and intense colors create a dynamic intense gaze for who remains before the paintings. It is difficult to distinguish what comes before and what comes after, but this holds the viewer and creates an immersive situation. In this tangle of brush strokes and layers of paint the eyes fill with situations imaginable.
His choices of colors and gestures demonstrate the work developed by years of studio and reminds us of the great classics of painting, without deluding ourselves by reference, its particularity is well marked by gestures, color palette and imagery references contemporary art is his work as his work is art. His paintings suggest a referral to contemporary painting.
Untitled, André Mendes 2016, Polyurethane Vegetable Resin on Canvas
145 cm x 280 cm x 25 cm (57 in x 110.2 in x 9.8 in)
Photo André Mendes
Art and Liberty
Really interesting is the Man who is guided by his choices and his freedom.
By freedom, I refer to one of Jean Paul Sartre (1905-1980), when the existence precedes the essence, that is, we first exist and then we become. In other words, man is nothing more than what he makes of himself and what he builds for himself.
In the case of the artist-man, his creative process truly begins, when he realizes his freedom, when he deprives himself of what he sees, creates as a result of his thoughts his own result and his projects can be called authentic.
There is no authorial creation without the exercise of freedom, that thought that renews itself every day, in recognition that the artist is the one who creates through its existence. Therefore, in order to define himself today as the author of a work piece in contemporary art, the analysis of the work in relation to its creator and its natural development imposed during its creation process, becomes a determining factor. Thus, through this natural process, the work emerges. The result is independent of the technique: from Figurative to Abstract, from Classic to Avant-guard in the use of any of the media, in the use of various materials and in the constant dialogue established between man and his time, we see arise through the expression of the artist an intrinsic signature, resulting from his coexistence with his own life, his personal expression and his presence in society.
The untitled work by André Mendes, created for the Solo Show – Art Basel Exhibition in 2016, is an excellent example of the result of this introspective and evolutionary process of the artist’s creation, which gradually develops his authorial career. André Mendes has been presenting in recent years, works that cherish his personal expression, based on the exercise of his freedom. This exercise, coming through various challenges such as the search for and the meeting of new materials and the development of new forms, which confront the artist to past theories, which are renewed every day and demand from the artist the coexistence with industry, ecology and an enigmatically generated daily life at the beginning of this century.
André Mendes thus tries a relationship with the new, in an authorial adventure with unexpected surprises and reactions that are being adapted to the results, generating an innovative result and containing the exercise of the artist with his freedom.
Colors, shapes, spaces, dimensions, everything passing through the perception of the artist in this work, but not being surpassed by the result of its own execution, on the contrary, conducting each observed evolution, as part of the creation process.
The visceral tones, the forms achieved, the established results, let us not deceive ourselves, are all driven by the exercise of freedom and the authorial development of this artist’s work. Such is the strength of this work and of this development that in some moments we confuse materials, disregard forms, revise volumes and return in an introspective way to the understanding conclusion that everything can be transformed, molded … around our own thinking.
Ricardo Fernandes, Paris, 2017
Curator and Art Critic