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Henrique Oliveira

Henrique Oliveira, Devir, 2017

Henrique Oliveira

Devir, 2017

Plywood, tree branches and bark






Press Release

Van de Weghe is pleased to present an installation by the Brazilian artist, Henrique Oliveira (b. 1973). This is his first show in New York.  

Oliveira is best known for his sculptural works which take the form of free-standing pieces, wall-reliefs or immersive environments made from materials scavenged from construction sites: plywood, metal, foam, tree branches.  He uses these to build organic structures evocative of tumors, exposed viscera, or various plant-life.  These meticulously-built hybrid forms reference both nature and the environmental decay associated with societal waste.  Oliveira expertly integrates these structures with adjacent architecture or ordinary objects, blurring the line between a sculpture and its surroundings to suggest a strange and new kind of life.

For his exhibition at Van de Weghe, Oliveira has taken over the gallery with an ambitious installation titled, in Portuguese, Devir, which roughly translates to the concept of constant change.  He has built a self-enclosed plywood room that the viewer may enter.  A life-size tree, constructed from scraps of plywood, tree branches and bark, appears to grow horizontally from one interior wall, bisecting the room. Its branches protrude from the trunk, extending until they reach and seem to be reabsorbed by the opposing walls, ceiling, and floor; it is a reverse life-cycle of sorts. The work vividly objectifies the disequilibrium of nature and society. 

As a counterpoint to the flux of virtual images that dominate our time, the strong materiality of Oliveira’s work is an invitation to see not just with the eyes, but to perceive with the body. He prompts us to question our perception of space, surface, and consistency; the lines between animal and vegetable, painting and sculpture. He transforms the natural patina of used materials into a “taxidermied” metaphor for the environmental problems of today. 

Henrique Oliveira, was born in Ourinhos, Brazil and received an MFA from São Paulo University. Since the mid-2000’s he has showed his work to a wide audience internationally.  He has had recent solo exhibitions at Museu de Arte Contemporânea, São Paulo (2014); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2013); Offenes Kulturhaus, Linz (2012); and Rice Gallery, Houston (2009).  Notable group exhibitions include: The End of the World, Centro Pecci, Prato, Italy (2016); XIII Bienal de Cuenca, Ecuador (2016); Object in Flux, Boston Museum of Fine Arts (2015); Brasiliana: Installation from 1960 to the Present, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt (2013);  Inside Out and from the Ground Up, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland (2012); Sculpture is Everything, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2012); Artists in Dialogue 2: Sandile Zulu and Henrique Oliveira, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington, DC (2011); 29th Bienal de São Paulo (2010) and Something from Nothing at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans (2008).

Van de Weghe Fine Art is open from Monday – Friday from 10:00am – 6:00 pm, and by appointment.  For further information, please contact Jenn Viola at