Miguel Rio Branco installation (Photo: Pedro Motta)
It’s been called another Versailles. Or the Disneyland of the future. It’s Inhotim——-a huge art complex and botanical park in southeastern Brazil. Privately owned, it’s got international art star installations and 12,000 varieties of palm trees. Miguel Rio Branco has his own pavilion there.
Rio Branco is a Brazilian photographer whose work, though stunning, is usually too seamy for me. Among his favorite subjects are prostitutes —————not exactly Disney. He describes the essence of his work this way: “… being in paradise, yet having something absolutely terrible taking place.”
Imagine these scents put together: cabbage, tobacco, roses, and green tea. If collage means, as Wangechi Mutu said, “to embrace…discord with ease,” such a clash of scents qualifies.
Now free associate. A restaurant in Paris. A secret garden. Gauloises. A beautiful Chinese girl. There’s the beginning of a narrative:
During World War II, a man joins the French Resistance. Soon he must quit his job as a waiter at Le Petit Chou to hide out in an abandoned rose garden. Late at night. Liang Sha (hostess at Chou) brings him Gauloises, until …
James Rosenquist, “Tosca” 2009
In the movie Holiday, Cary Grant’s motto is: “I just ask myself what General Motors would do, then I do the opposite.”
My parents, when it came to their kids, had a variation on this. They asked us what we wanted to do, then told us to do the opposite.
After I’d started collaging, my mother once asked, “Why put pieces together? Why don’t you just paint it that way in the first place?”
I doubt that James Rosenquist’s mother made that kind of an intervention. But nevertheless, the artist, who often made collages, did the work above which is mostly painting. The lace is collaged, but the rest is painted to look like collage. Why?