Maria Nepomuceno

MARIA NEPOMUCENO’s woven and beaded sculptures feel entirely self-sufficient. They’re at once charming and mysterious, relaxed and vivacious, like the never-entirely-gentle Rio environment that produced them.

Holland Cotter, The New York Times


Maria Nepomuceno’s seductive sculptures and installations made of brightly colored rope, straw and beads spread throughout the spaces they inhabit. The artist allows her materials to obey their own organizational logic, weaving them together in a process that presents seemingly infinite possibilities for the spiraling, circling and multiplying of forms. Inspired by ancient traditions and complex indigenous craft techniques, Nepomuceno pushes these into a wholly contemporary engagement with space and structure, form and concept. That the sculptures appear anthropomorphic and organic is essential to a reading of her work: the spiraling central to her process relates to the spirals occurring naturally throughout the universe, giving shape to entire galaxies as well as the blueprint for existence, DNA.

The sculptures bear a direct relationship to the human body, at times seeming familiar and almost functional, as though they are to be utilized for some as yet unlearned task, and at others appearing entirely alien, like unidentified microbes occupying new anatomical terrain. Nepomuceno’s work draws on the modern history of Brazilian art and has a particular affinity with the ideas of Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, who established parallels between their own aesthetic systems and those of the real world, worked with everyday materials, and maintained that art must be subjective and vital.

Nepomuceno studied painting and drawing at the prestigious Parque Lage visual arts school before studying industrial design at the University of Rio de Janeiro and art and philosophy at the School of Visual Arts in Rio de Janeiro.

In 2010 Maria Nepomuceno had her works feauturing solo exhibitions as “Always in a spiral”, Museum Magasin 3, Stockholm; “New Work”, Victoria Miro, London; Art Basel Fair (Statements), Basel. She also participated in group shows such as “Touched”, Lehmann Maupin, NY; “A Gentil Carioca” at IFA Institut, Berlin and IFA Institut, Stutgard; Frieze Art Fair, London; among others.

Among her most important solo shows, besides the ones already mentioned are: “Afetosyntesis”, at Stavanger Art Museum, on Norway (2017); “Tempo para respirar” at the Turner Contemporary em Londres and in Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro (2013); “Saudades da pintura e de outras coisas” at A Gentil Carioca Lá (2013); “Respiro”, A Gentil Carioca (2006); Temporada de Projetos do Paço das Artes, Sao Paulo (2008); “Afectoflux” Karsten Greve Galerie, Paris (2008); Volta Art Fair, New York (2009); Karsten Greve Galerie, Koln, Germany (2009); “Esfera Dalva”, Galeria A Gentil Carioca (2009). In 2017, Maria had two solo in London and in 2017 she presented Afetosyntesis, at Stavanger Art Museum, Norway.


Among the most important group shows she has participated are: “Soft Power. Arte Brasil”, at Kunsthal KadE Amersfoort, Holanda (2016); “A Gentil Carioca”, Daniel Reich, NY, USA(2006); Salão da Bahia, Museu de arte Moderna Salvador – Acquisition prize (2006); Galeria Studio Guenzani, curated by Rodrigo Moura, Milan (2007); “Conecting Thread”, Galeria Karsten Greve, Paris (2008); “Blooming” Florescendo Brasil, Toyota Museum of Contemporary art, Nagoya, Japan (2008); Salão do Paraná, Museu de arte Contemporânea do Paraná, Paraná (2008).