BIOGRAPHY

José Bezerra

1952, Buique | PE - Brazil

José Bezerra was born in 1952 in the city of Buíque, in the interior of Pernambuco, where the rural country abuts the wilderness. José had improvised careers as a farmer, a jockey, a manual laborer and many other career paths and activities as the result of his disadvantaged situation. He killed animals to eat. Felled trees to make firewood. Today these things make him unhappy and he tries to atone for them in his art.About ten years ago José had a dream in which he was called to carry out the artistic work he is engaged in today. From that point forward he started to look at the woods that surrounded him and to interact with it. José does not sculpt in a traditional way by acting on a block of wood in order to achieve a defined shape. He seeks to see a figure that has already imbedded itself in the wood. With the rude intervention of a machete, rasp, chisel and handsaw, the trunk, branches and roots of the umburana tree José uncovers a figure while simultaneously maintaining its bond with the raw wood from which it started-all with the tools and gestures that he used to act on it. This approach gives his sculptures an unusual intensity. José works mainly with twisted logs, typical of the local vegetation, like the umburana. This unorthodox approach, together with the few gashes that are indicative of it, produces a remarkable result. The oscillating definition of the figures joins the tortuosity of the wood. This relationship makes the viewer perceive forms that seem to struggle to emerge amidst the clash between vegetal matter and rude and parsimonious sculptural intervention. Hence, the singular expressiveness of his works. The animals, bodies and faces do not have the sweetness like much of the so-called popular art made by a preference and familiarity with the materials.

When talking about his art, the emphasis is on the role of imagination in what he does. Thus, the importance he attaches to the act of seeing images in the trunks and branches he finds through his site and imagination is an element that distances his pieces beyond simple realism. From there he transposes the daydreams that go through the clouds to the sky. For José Bezerra, seeing means opening natural material like wood to possibilities that keep it away from a lazy identity with itself as well as from only utilitarian use.

The nature that emerges from his works has an intense life, an inexhaustible and tormented energy. It recalls Euclides da Cunha's descriptions of the Canudos region, in the first part of Os sertões, “The dirt”: “(...) leafless trees, with twisted and dry branches, revolted, crisscrossed, pointing hard in space or stretching flexibly across the ground, reminiscent of an immense bruise, of torture, of agonizing flora ....” But the angular expressiveness of his work stems from the understanding that the very medium that contributed decisively to the emergence of his work - the region of Vale do Catimbau and the rural activities that develop there - is about to be put down by the accelerated changes in the country's economic relations. In addition, I am convinced that the sculptor senses the extent of the tragedy that surrounds the entire planet, the threats that nature faces on a global scale like few others. Like any great artist, José Bezerra sees far and near.

Rodrigo Naves

Source: “José Bezerra | Sculptures”, from Galeria Estação, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

CV

Individual Exhibitions:


2015 José Bezerra | Sculptures, Galeria Estação, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


2013 José Bezerra | Sculptures, Culture Center Matarazzo, SP, Brazil


2010 José Bezerra| Sculpture , Galeria Celma Albuquerque, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil


2009 José Bezerra | Sculptures, Galeria Estação, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


2010 José Bezerra | Sculptures,SESC - São Carlos, SP, Brazil


2010 José Bezerra | Sculptures,SESC- Bauru, SP, Brazil


2010 José Bezerra | Sculptures, Paulo Setubal Museum Tatuí, SP, Brazil


 


Collective Exhibitions:


2020 Acauã e o fantasma, Auroras, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


2014 Almost a figure, Almost a shape, Galeria Estação, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


2014 Vivid Memories Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris, France


2012-2013 Janete Costa “A Look”, Janete Costa Museum, Niterói, RJ, Brazil


2012 Mix Max Brasil ,Tropenmuseum Junior, Amsterdam – The Netherlands


2012 Histoires de Voir, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, France


2012 Stubbornness of Imagination: Ten Brazilian Artists, Imperial Palace, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil


2012 Stubbornness of Imagination: Ten Brazilian Artists, Tomie Ohtake Institute, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


2010 Brazilian Art beyond the System, Galeria Estação, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


 


Public Collections:


Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, France


José and Paulina Nemirovsky Foundation, São Paulo, Brazil


MAM – Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil


MAR - Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil


AfroBrasil Museum, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


Pavilion of Brazilian Cultures, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


São Paulo State Pinacothèque, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


SESC São Carlos, SP, Brazil;


SESC - Belenzinho, São Paulo, SP, Brazil


Tropenmuseum Junior, Amsterdam , The Netherlands


 


Selected Publications:


2013 José Bezerra| Sculptures – a catalogue of an exhibition at the Culture Center Matarazzo, Brazil


2012 Janete Costa, A Look, Janete Costa Museum, Niterói, RJ, Brazil


2012 Histoires de Voir, Fondation Cartier Pour l’art contemporain, Own Press, France


2012 Stubbornness of Imagination – Ten Brazilian Artists, Martins Fontes Press, Brazil


2010 José Bezerra| Sculptures – a catalogue of an exhibition at the Galeria Estação, Brazil


2010 José Bezerra| Sculptures – catalogue of an exhibition at the Galeria Celma Albuquerque, Brazil


2010 Brazilian Art beyond the system – catalogue of an exhibition at the Galeria Estação, Brazil


2010 Pavillion of Brazilian Cultures: Pure Mixtures, Terceiro Nome Press, Brazil


2006 Pernambuco made by hand, Sebrae Pernambuco Press, Brazil

EXHIBITIONS

encerrado
são paulo

José Bezerra | Sculptures

16.06.2015 - 04.08.2015
encerrado
são paulo

José Bezerra | Sculptures

25.03.2009 - 30.05.2009
encerrado

José Bezerra Sculptures | 2010

26.05.2010 - 03.07.2010

VIDEOS

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Documentary