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Henrique Oliveira


Henrique Oliveira | Brazil b.1973 | Xilonoma Chamusquius 2 2012 | Burnt plywood and pigments | Purchased 2012 with funds from Tim Fairfax, AM, through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery

Xilonoma Chamusquius 2 2012

The streets of São Paulo are covered with plywood used for screening construction sites. Henrique Oliveira started collecting plywood from the street to use as supports for his paintings. Generally of low quality, these plywood sheets begin to warp and the layers separate after a few months of exposure to the elements. Oliveira describes how he came to the title of the work Xilonoma Chamusquius 2, which reflects both the way that the work was made and the concept that it conveys:

The title is made up of invented words that allude to the way that the work was produced. ‘Xilo’ (wood) from Greek is joined with ‘noma’ from ‘carcinoma’ (pathology or tumour). The Portuguese verb ‘chamuscar’ (to be scorched) is given a Latin form to fake, with a bit of humour, a scientific term. ‘Xilonoma Chamusquius’ refers to a strange phenomenon — the formation of a kind of tumour on the architecture. Its skin, made from the same material that is used for building shantytowns, holds the indices of the decay of uncontrolled urban occupations typical of large cities in developing countries. The work draws parallels between the disequilibrium that happens in the human body as well as in the body of society.1
1. ‘Henrique Oliveira: On Sculpture’ in Sculpture is Everything (ex. cat.), Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2012, p.71