Brazilian Baroque

Brazilian Baroque, a major exhibition of work by The Campana Brothers opened at David Gill Galleries in London last week.

Combining the sumptuous and decorative Baroque style of the 17th and 18th centuries with the Campana Brothers' own take on Brazilian art and culture, the collection includes a number of new pieces alongside a selection of works first shown at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris last autumn.

Humberto and Fernando Campana are known for their work with recycled materials and their imaginative reusing and reworking of existing pieces - they made their name with the development of the Favela Chair in 1991, made from scraps of wood found in a São Paulo slum. With this new collection they have introduced a strongly theatrical and gothic element to their distinctive style.

"Brazilian Baroque is a mixture of Brazilian and Roman baroque," says Humberto Campana. "It is based on a very personal desire to explore classical forms and to interpret the Baroque ideal in a contemporary style of our own."

Each piece is made in Rome by craftsmen specialising in bronze work, demonstrating magnificent skill in welding together a jumble of decorative motifs - keys, leaves, cupids and crocodiles - to create organic and playful shapes which are combined with other materials.

“The first time we visited the bronze maker’s workshop and saw such variety of pieces in gilded bronze, was a revelation,” says Humberto. They had the idea of putting these pieces together, making a pile and then developed the process, first by gluing the pieces together, then fusing them, trying to create a composition. The resulting collection is a random reordering based on an understanding of reconstruction and contemporary design. “We are interested in material and the way it is used,” continues Humberto,”with this project, our aim was to achieve unity through fragmentation and this has triggered an entirely new aesthetic process.”

Brazilian Baroque is at David Gill St James's until 15 June 2013.