MADALENA SANTOS REINBOLT AT MASP: UNA CABEZA LLENA DE PLANETAS
The exhibition Madalena Santos Reinbolt: una cabeza llena de planetas (A head full of planets) is the first solo exhibition of the Brazilian artist at the Museu de Arte de São Paulo.
Madalena Santos Reinbolt: una cabeza llena de planetas brings together 44 works, including paintings and tapestries, and is accompanied by an editorial publication entirely devoted to the artist, with images and unpublished essays.
Although she also worked in painting, the artist is known for her complex embroideries constructed with hundreds of vibrantly colored threads, the so-called "wool frames". In them, Reinbolt depicted daily life in the countryside and in the city, full of black characters in meetings, parties, celebrations, religiosities, collective meals.
The solo exhibition is part of MASP's biennial program dedicated to Brazilian Histories (2021-22), on the occasion of the bicentennial of Brazil's independence in 2022. This year, the program also includes solo exhibitions by Judith Lauand and Cinthia Marcelle.
Despite her rich and unique output, Santos Reinbolt produced outside the traditional art circuits of her time, and only in recent years has his work begun to attract more attention. Even today, there is still a great silence in museums and art spaces about the pioneering nature of his production, something that the MASP show hopes to diminish, establishing a debate around her history and contribution to Brazilian art.
Santos Reinbolt grew up on a small farm with her family, where she had her first contacts with embroidery, weaving, ceramics and painting in childhood. In 1949, at the beginning of her adult life, Santos Reinbolt arrived in Petrópolis, where she worked at the Samambaia farm, residence of architect Lota Macedo Soares (1910-1967) and wife, American writer Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979).
Although linked from an early age to the creative exercise, it was not until the 1950s that the artist began to devote herself to painting, tracing synthetic figures with expressive brushstrokes and using fragile supports, such as paper or straw, indicating the importance of materiality in her production.
In the late 1960s, Santos Reinbolt began to produce her unique and pioneering "wool paintings", made with 154 needles, in different colors, like a palette of ink, which the artist printed on burlap or canvas. The needle, in his practice, thus becomes an extension of the hand, like the brush in painting.