8 de Dez 2022 – 21 de Jan 2023 Centro Cultural Correios São Paulo
When Englishman John Milton (1608-1674) began writing Paradise Lost in 1658, he was in mourning. It was a year of great suffering, marked by the death of his second wife during the birth of his daughter. Regarded as one of the greatest writers of Western literature, the book he was drafting at that moment, and which would become his masterpiece, was an attempt to make sense of a changing world. Just like the epic poet, the carioca Antonio Bokel also searches through his work for a lost paradise. For years, his body and mind have been united in an attempt to make the rural and the urban coexist in his artistic production. The result of this transfusion of realities gave rise to the exhibition now on display at the Centro Cultural Correios São Paulo.
The disruptive duality of Bokel’s work highlights the intersection of this troubled territory he seeks to inhabit: contemporary metropolises, the language of street art, technology, and the sometimes chaotic mixture of strokes and gestures that meets naïf references, linked to the human essence, to cave landscapes, and to a simple and self-sustainable life. With nature putting the existence of human beings in check, Bokel reinforces the union of these two aspects as the only means to our existence or salvation. And art arrives at this crossroads through the encounter of materials, between ceramics and bronze, wood and paint, earth and photographic printing, the transmission of images through artificial intelligence. The struggle between these symbols takes place before our eyes, whether in paintings, sculptures, photographs, or video installations.
The artist graduated in graphic design from the Centro Universitário da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro in 2004. His first solo show, however, took place a year earlier, in 2003, at Kenʼs Art Gallery in Florence, Italy, where he lived and took courses in photography and art history. It is from this latter somewhat more classical and romantic background that his deep and uncompromising research for materials from antiquity, such as metals and plaster, and going towards other contemporary ones, such as spray and concrete, emerges.
Despite her connection with concretism and geometry, the hands that resignify objects and stir elements seek organic forms and uncertain lines to work on her canvases, which sometimes awaken from the two-dimensional to interesting spatial compositions. It is part of his intimate ritual to propitiate this ancestral confrontation of ideas and production lines. And it is through this that he builds something worthy of the New Age through which we are moving today. To be in tune with the various worlds we live in is to be able to regenerate, just as nature does.
Ana Carolina Ralston
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Antonio is a visual artist with a degree in graphic design. The artist presents works worked at the intersection of art and urban life, from which he brings his references and creates his symbolic universe. With a capacity for poetic improvisation, Antonio works with the most varied materials and supports, presenting works in different languages.
Although painting is the strong point of his creation, Antonio Bokel presents works in photographs, as well as sculptures and installations. His works evoke a reflection on space while balancing different colors, shapes, and volumes. They bring references such as avant-garde contemporary art, artpop, and elements of popular culture. In composition, symbols are deconstructed and restructured, creating the material for his rethinking of space and urban life.
The artist presents his work throughout Brazil and abroad in solo and group exhibitions. His works have traveled to countries like Holland, Portugal, and the Dominican Republic, and some of them are in the collection of the MAM (Modern Art Museum of Rio de Janeiro) and the MAR (Art Museum of Rio).