Caracas, Venezuela, 1971; lives in Caracas
oil on wood
Since the end of the 1990s, Juan Araujo has been producing a vast oeuvre of painting on a small and medium scale in which the citation of other artworks is an important element. Pages from books on great masters of painting have been his main motif for many years, but, for some time now, Araujo has had a special interest in modern architecture, mainly that of Latin America, and especially Brazil. Araujos paintings portray important buildings of Oscar Niemeyers first phase, as well as works by Lina Bo Bardi, Marcos Acayaba, João Batista Vilanova Artigas and Roberto Burle Marx. In the way that he conceives and executes his images, Araujo is interested in various instances of mediation with the architectural space whether the light and the landscape, or the reproduction of book pages and the visuality that informs our experience with the documentation of these buildings.
The works presented in this room are the artists response to a commission from Inhotim, for which he worked with aspects of the visual history of Minas Gerais. Entitled Mineiriana (a Portuguese term referring to libraries with works by authors from Minas Gerais, or on themes involving the state), the exhibition features artworks that articulate painting with other artistic expressions such as drawing, photography, graphic arts and institutional criticism. The starting point is the insertion of the work Invenção da cor, Penetrável Magic Square # 5, De Luxe (1977), by Hélio Oiticica, in the gardens of Inhotim, creating monochromatic planes against the landscape. In a second segment, Araujo revisits the Casa de Baile (1943), which he had focused on previously, a masterwork by Niemeyer and a milestone of the states modernization. Finally, the artist focuses on the colonial past and on the way it was portrayed throughout the 20th century.
The artists research relied on support from Arquivo Central do IPHAN Seção Rio de Janeiro.