Regina Silveira
In Absentia (Collection)

January 29 to June 10, 2012

Renowned Brazilian artist Regina Silveira's exhibition includes a series of absent artworks presented at The Aldrich, an institution that is itself without a permanent collection. With this exhibition, Silveira provides a series of iconic masterpieces, the ideal collection any museum could envision housing, while simultaneously paying homage to the masters she currently finds relevant. As she revisits these works in her own style, she presents us with empty pedestals, backed by the gigantic and distorted vinyl shadows of recognizable, yet absent, modern works.

Since the 1980s, Silveira has challenged the relationship between an object and its shadow, something impossible in the real world. The visitor is enticed to first perceive the shadows as almost three dimensional, since they are initially experienced mainly with the body because of their larger-than-life scale and unsettling distortions. The shadows provide an off-balance physical experience before they are perceived with the mind. With this back and forth between object and shadow, presence and absence, Silveira attempts to "construct and deconstruct images and spatialities." Her disproportionate (and impossible) shadows are similar to those portrayed by Giorgio de Chirico in his canvases, explains art historian Jennie Hirsh, who argues that Silveira brings to the present his propensity for uncanny shadows, which produce enigmatic and metaphysical atmospheres that are destabilizing and unsettling.

The Absentia series has been partially incarnated on several occasions. The idea for this body of work was initiated as early as 1983, when several perspective drawings depicting four empty bases projecting shadows of works by Man Ray, Picasso, Duchamp, and Boccioni were laid out in a radial disposition. A condensed version of the project came together at the São Paulo Biennial that year, when Silveira exclusively presented the Duchamp works, and yet another materialized a decade later as a project for the LedisFlam Gallery, New York. Several museums now own the permanent versions of these works (made of durable materials like wood or plastic laminate, or a digital file holding the vinyl design), yet this exhibition at The Aldrich is the first to feature all the Absentias in one place.

Open publication - Free publishing - More absentia

Top of page: Regina Silveira, Masterpieces: In Absentia (Man Ray), 1998
Collection of Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo
Gift of Galeria Brito Cimino Arte Contemporânea
e Moderna, São Paulo