IllustraBrazil! gathers the work of 100 Brazilian illustrators under the aegis of the Society of Illustrators of Brazil. With subject matter ranging from football to rainforest fauna and across genres as diverse as paper-cutting and caricature, the show is a vivid depiction of a country that is famous for its spirit and color.
IllustraBrazil! has been held annually in São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro since 2004, and this is the first time it has toured internationally. The collection shown at The Foundry is both a culmination of past years’ highlights and a showcase of new pieces.
What is most striking is the sheer diversity of the art on display, from the very simplest of images inspired by Bahia paper-cutting and north Brazilian woodblocks to more complex graphic novel scenes and digital art. There is humor too, especially in Ricardo Cunha Lima’s take on Munch’s The Scream, in which the eponymous yell is depicted as a cry of joy on hearing a football score on the phone. Football fans will enjoy Mario Alberto’s overblown caricature of Ronaldinho with huge, horse-like teeth, and classical music enthusiasts will recognize Heitor Villa-Lobos with his conductor’s baton poised. Classic art is subverted again in Gilberto Marchi’s reworking of the Mona Lisa as a white bullock with hooves crossed demurely.
IllustraBrazil!’s mission is to present a sample of Brazilian culture through illustration, and it achieves its goal; images of Carnival, beach life, football and religion abound. However, it is refreshing that many of the pieces have more general themes, proving that Brazilian artists are capable of looking outside their immediate sphere of influence for inspiration.
There are surprises aplenty among the works. While many will be familiar with the New York Times bestselling graphic novel Day Tripper, few know it's actually the work of two Brazilian brothers, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon. The artistry at play within the Brazilian advertizing industry is particularly interesting, seen clearly in Claudson Rocha’s celebration of Ayrton Senna for an ad campaign.
The exhibition takes up a single room of the Foundry’s space, and it was a conscious decision to arrange the works randomly. Organizer and curator Bruno Porto says, “We thought about splitting the illustrations into themes like beaches, rainforests, religion, football, but we decided to mix them up to reflect Brazil as a melting pot.” Indeed, this move serves to highlight the very diversity that embodies IllustraBrazil!.
What: [IllustraBrazil! at the Foundry](http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/shanghai/events/91533/)
Where: Lane 729, Shanxi North Rd