'Impermanence' celebrates 40 years of Estúdio Campana

Wang Jie
Exhibition currently on show at the Power Station of Art offers visitors a rare opportunity to appreciate Brazilian innovative designs filled with humor, naivete and passion.
Wang Jie
'Impermanence' celebrates 40 years of Estúdio Campana

"Impermanence – 40 Years of Estúdio Campana" is the São Paulo-based studio's first major exhibition in Asia.

'Impermanence' celebrates 40 years of Estúdio Campana

An alluring display of artificial stalactites and stalagmites.

"Impermanence – 40 Years of Estúdio Campana," currently on show at the Power Station of Art (PSA), offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience Brazilian designs filled with humor, naivete and passion.

Marking the 40th anniversary of the founding of EstÃdio Campana, the Power Station of Design (psD) at the Power Station of Art in Shanghai, the exhibition will run through September 8.

Established in 1984 by Brazilian design duo Humberto and Fernando Campana, Estúdio Campana investigates new possibilities within design: from furniture making to architecture, landscaping, fashion, to scenography and more.

Deeply rooted in Brazilian culture and tradition, their work has universal values at its core, such as freedom and human dignity, creating their identity through life experiences. By incorporating the idea of transformation and reinvention, their creative process raises everyday materials to nobility.

"Impermanence" is also the São Paulo-based studio's first major exhibition in Asia.

'Impermanence' celebrates 40 years of Estúdio Campana

"Astro," a 12-meter-high hanging tulle sculpture inspired by images generated by the Hubble Space Telescope.

'Impermanence' celebrates 40 years of Estúdio Campana

The exhibition brings over 50 pioneering pieces.

The exhibition brings over 50 pioneering pieces that represent and trace the history of thoughts and actions that have prefigured artistic events, design solutions, and urgent reflections on the coexistence of human beings and nature.

Co-curated by Marco Sammicheli, curator for design, fashion, crafts and director Museo del Design Italiano at the Triennale Milano, and Gong Yan, director of PSA, the exhibition highlights how EstÃdio Campana's designs embody a combination of manual, expressive, and political acts.

For example, a "Cabinet of Curiosities" welcomes Chinese visitors into the Campana universe of references from childhood to the beginning of the brothers' careers, including never-before displayed personal objects, original drawings, and prototypes of the past four decades of the studio's productions.

"I wanted to combine the curators' work with a child-like experience, which for me is the most accurate way of explaining how my brother and I trailblazed through life: by taking steps into dark, unknown territories, and shedding light into our explorations and findings," Humberto said. "Plato's classic allegory is something we can all relate to, at any age or background. I like to think we are all born curious, and this scenography is an invitation to embrace estrangement, step away from your comfort zone, and be rewarded by the courage to let imagination run free in an adventurous search for joy."

To nest the curators' vision, Humberto has designed an alluring structure of artificial stalactites and stalagmites, a reference to Plato's "Allegory of the Cave," where visitors can roam freely and discover the works, as they materialize from behind organic-shaped columns, like a game of hide-and-seek.

On closer inspection, visitors are able to find these creamy stalactites and stalagmites whether standing on the ground or hanging down from the ceiling are actually made from foam.

'Impermanence' celebrates 40 years of Estúdio Campana

The exhibition highlights how EstÃdio Campana's designs embody a combination of manual, expressive, and political acts.

In parallel, Estúdio Campana was commissioned to produce two new works: an installation for the museum's atrium, entitled "Astro." a 12-meter-high hanging tulle sculpture inspired by images generated by the Hubble Space Telescope. Another installation inaugurates PSA's unique "Sky Garden" in collaboration with Chinese garden designer Yuan Zhen. "Pyro" is an oversized cluster of bamboo and steel structures resembling star outbursts that will dot the area that oversees the skyline of Shanghai, fully integrated with graceful landscape design.

The exhibition is one of a series of events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sino-Brazilian diplomatic relations. Other highlights include a concert by acclaimed Brazilian guitarist Yamandu Costa who took part in a special guitar concert at the Shangyin Opera House in this March. As an initiative of the Shanghai Musicians Association, this concert is also part of the agenda of the 39th Shanghai Spring International Music Festival.

As a soloist, the Brazilian musician performed the piece "Ilhas Concertantes" – composed in partnership with Sérgio Assad – for the first time in Asia, accompanied by the Shanghai Opera Symphony Orchestra under the baton of conductor Zhang Chengjie. Guitarists Marco Tamayo (Cuban with Austrian citizenship), Jérôme Mouffe (Belgian) and Zhang Sien (Chinese) also participated in the concert.

Date: Through September 8 (closed on Mondays), 11am-7pm

Venue: Power Station of Art

Address: 678 Miaojiang Rd

Admission:Free


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