Press Release

Mira Schendel

Tate Modern will stage the first ever international, full-scale survey of the work of Mira Schendel (1919-1988) from 25 September. Schendel is one of Latin America’s most important and prolific post-war artists.

Mira Schendel at Signals Gallery, London 1966

Mira Schendel, London 1966

Photo: Clay Perry, courtesy England & Co, London

25 September 2013– 19 January 2014
Tate Modern, Level 3
Sponsored by Itaú
With additional support from The Mira Schendel Exhibition Supporters Group
Open every day from 10.00 – 18.00 and late until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday
Adult £11.00, Concession £9.50 (without Gift Aid donation Adult £10.00, Concession £6.60)
For public information print +44 (0)20 7887 8888 • • Twitter @tate #Schendel 

Tate Modern will stage the first ever international, full-scale survey of the work of Mira Schendel (1919-1988) from 25 September. Schendel is one ofLatin America’s most important and prolific post-war artists. Alongside her contemporaries Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica, Schendel reinvented the language of European Modernism inBrazil. The show exemplifies how Tate is continuing to rethink and re-present the history of modern and contemporary art by showing artists who established their careers outsideEuropeand theUSA.

The exhibition brings together over 270 paintings, drawings and sculptures from across her entire career, many of which have never been exhibited before. Highlights include her Droguinhas (Little Nothings) 1965-6, soft sculptures of knotted rice paper in the form of malleable nets, originally exhibited in London (Signals, 1966); and the Graphic Objects 1967-8, a group of works that explore language and poetry and were shown at the 1968 Venice Biennale.

Other important works in the show are Schendel’s early abstract paintings, among them Tate’s Untitled 1963; her later monotype drawings on rice paper, of which she made over 2000; and the installations Still Waves of Probability 1969 and Variants 1977. Schendel’s final complete series of works, abstract paintings entitled Sarrafos (Battens) 1987, are also included. The Sarrafos are white monochromes with a black batten extending from their surface, addressing the body, space and environment of the spectator.

Mira Schendel was born in Zurich in 1919 and grew up in Milan. After the war she lived inRomebefore moving toBrazilin 1949. She settled in São Paolo in 1953, where she married Knut Schendel, and where she lived and worked until her death in 1988. Although brought up as a Catholic, Schendel was persecuted during WWII for her Jewish heritage. She was forced to leave university, due to anti-Semitic laws introduced inItaly, and flee toYugoslaviawhere she lived from c.1941-45.

Schendel’s early experience of cultural, geographic and linguistic displacement is evident in her work, as is her interest in religion and philosophy. In São Pauloshe developed an extraordinary intellectual circle of philosophers, poets, psychoanalysts, physicists and critics – many of them émigrés like herself – and engaged in correspondence with intellectuals across Europe, such as Max Bense and Hermann Schmitz. Among key exhibitions featuring Schendel’s work were the first and numerous subsequent editions of the São Paulo Bienal; the 1968 Venice Biennale; a solo show at the Galeria de Arte SESI, São Paulo (1997); and Tangled Alphabets with León Ferrari at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (2009).

Mira Schendel is organised by Tate Modern and the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo in association with the Fundação de Serralves, Museu de Arte Contemporânea,Porto. It is curated by Tanya Barson from Tate Modern and Taisa Palhares from the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo and is the first major project to take place since the institutional partnership agreement signed between Tate, Pinacoteca and the Estado de São Paulo in 2012. The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated catalogue by Tate Publishing and a programme of talks and events in the gallery.

Editor notes

About Itaú

Culture, like education and sports, is an important element of Itaú's cause, which is why we support numerous cultural events and festivals throughout Latin America. Instituto Itaú Cultural is our main institution which manages cultural investments, and works to provide access to Brazil's heritage and ensure the sustainability and legacy of national artistic productions. The bank also has a large network of movie theatres in Brazil as well as managing Auditório Ibirapuera, a multicultural municipal center in São Paulo. Itaú also invests in taking the work of Latin American artists abroad. In 2011, Itaú sponsored a major exhibition at MoMA which showcased the work of Carlito Carvalhosa.

Fernando Chacon, CMO at Itaú Unibanco, said: 
"We are very proud to extend our support of the arts by sponsoring Mira Schendel at Tate Modern, since we truly believe that the access to culture can transform society. This will be the largest survey ever of her work and we are very happy to be able to be part of an exhibition which will share with the public over 250 paintings, drawings and sculptures from her contemporary vision of art"

Itaú is one of the world's largest banks with presence in 20 countries throughout the Americas, Asia, Europe and Middle East. With around 94 thousand employees, the bank has more than 40 million clients and aspires to be a leading bank in sustainable performance and client satisfaction.