Graham Foundation launches exhibition on 20th-century Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi

Lina Bo Bardi: Together is on show from April 25 to July 25 2015 at the Graham Foundation’s Madlener House in Chicago, paying tribute to the work and legacy of 20th-century Italian-Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi. Featuring new works by artist Madelon Vriesendorp, filmmaker Tapio Snellman and photographer Ioana Marinescu, this exhibition endeavours to inspire new conversations around Bo Bardi’s work. It brings to life the experience of her buildings and inclusive approach to design, which aimed to dispel aesthetic and social hierarchies and embraced the texture and diversity of her adopted Brazil. Curated by Noemi Blager and designed by London-based architecture and design firm Assemble, Lina Bo Bardi: Together will open to the public with a reception at the Graham Foundation’s Madlener House on April 24, 2015.

Born in Rome in 1914, Bo Bardi moved to São Paulo in 1946, where she lived, immersing herself in the politics and popular culture of Brazil, until her death in 1992. Throughout her works, which spanned architecture, furniture design, curating, writing, illustration and stage sets, Bo Bardi sought to integrate art and life, conviction with playfulness, and creativity with honesty. Embracing the existing urban fabric and social and cultural practices of São Paulo and Salvador da Bahia, Bo Bardi drew on construction techniques and materials rooted in local practices, and integrated them with the values of the Modern Movement. Bo Bardi’s inclusive approach to building and design was above all grounded in the respect for people: their energy, expression, and collective freedom.

Marking the centennial of Lina Bo Bardi’s birth, Lina Bo Bardi: Together highlights the vitality and creative momentum that Bo Bardi’s work and writings continue to inspire today. It reveals Bo Bardi’s innovative designs for public use, including the Museu de Arte Popular do Unhão, Bahia (1959) and the SESC Pompéia, a recreational centre built in an old factory building in São Paulo, as well as The Glass House (1951), which she designed for herself and her husband Pietro Maria Bardi.

The exhibition transforms the first two floors of the Graham Foundation’s Madlener House with an immersive installation, including photographs, films, and a collection of objects by Madelon Vriesendorp. This collection reflects the culmination of workshops that Vriesendorp conducted at the Solar do Unhão, a crafts centre and industrial design school in Bo Bardi’s Museu de Arte Popular do Unhão, Bahia. Tapio Snellman’s film projections explores the textures, colors, sounds, and social lives of Bo Bardi’s buildings, including the SESC Pompéia. Ioana Marinescu’s photographs reveal the intimate world of the Glass House, investigates the objects that Bo Bardi choose to display in her own environment.

Finally, the exhibition includes three Bowl Chairs, originally designed by Bo Bardi in 1951 and manufactured for the first time in a limited edition by Arper on the occasion of Lina Bo Bardi’s centennial.

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