Curated by Helene Dumenil and Nicole O’Rourke
Exhibition text by Laura Belik
“Ballon Rouge is excited to present Bruna Canepa’s exhibition “Modern Romance”, her first ever solo show outside of her home country, Brazil. Bruna’s work represents her studies and interpretation of three different structures: the “Ruin House”; the “Gas Station House”; and the “Souvenir House.” Sections, facades, isometric perspectives combined with collages bring to life different modes of representation of already-known forms, volumes and spaces that are now being re-shaped, re-scaled, and re-interpreted. While based in real-life references, experiences and expressions, Bruna’s intention is not to simply reproduce their commonality, but to explore their potential in different contexts. She is not looking to translate the world as it is, neither is she playing with the absurd. Her work is not necessarily a proposal for the extraordinary nor an interpretation of the surreal, but ultimately, it aims to connect to our everyday mundane reality – with a different set of curious eyes. Bruna’s constant exercise in trying to understand how we see and represent the built environment, graphically in parts, dictates the aesthetics of her work: isolating elements in a white canvas; drawing objects she’s already acquainted with to better capture their essence are some of the strategies that help her creative process.
Trained as an architect, Bruna’s research and body of work are a response to her questioning of how we interpret different forms of representation of existing structures and what they mean. Recognizable elements are stretched or shrunk, juxtaposed in intriguing ways that might refer to its original form, but not quite. Bruna’s research is an invitation to using different lenses in order to see what has always been there. How can one experience space only through representation? Neither an essay, nor a drawing or a perspective can fully grasp space on its own – but at the same time these expressions are also understood as proposals for three-dimensional practices. Each one of these means are sections of selected representations interpreting a single object in different formats. Bruna’s work contributes to this discussion by helping the viewer to rethink the traditional ways they see the built environment. Bruna’s intention is not necessarily to offer technical solutions or projects to be built, but it is, however, to create architecture.
“Modern Romance” shows Bruna’s continuing path toward understanding the nuances between real and imaginary worlds, high-style architecture and every-day practices. This exhibition brings to light Bruna’s questions and interpretations of the ambiguity that representations of space and architecture through drawing can have. The duality of interpretations in Bruna’s work is visible and much needed. Bruna’s current and previous works such as “As 5 casas” (5 Houses, 2013) or her solo exhibition in São Paulo, “O Deserto Americano” (American Desert, 2018) express this growing conversation she is constantly coming back to, and how this is explicit through her own production over the years.”
Laura Belik is a PhD Candidate in Architecture at University of California, Berkeley. She holds an MA in Design Studies from Parsons, The New School (New York) and a B.Arch from Escola da Cidade (São Paulo). Laura’s career path flows between academia and curation both in Brazil and the U.S. She has co-curated the exhibitions “Detroit Ponto Morto” (X Biennale of Architecture of São Paulo, 2013), “Futurographies” (New York, 2015/Paris 2016/ Phnon Penh 2016), “Americans on the Road” (Berkeley, 2018), and “About Things Loved: Blackness and Belonging” (BAMPFA/ Berkeley, 2019). Laura has been a lecturer and researcher at UC Berkeley, The New School, Columbia University, and Escola da Cidade.