17 January 2009

In Country: Oscar Niemeyer

On Thursday David, Fernando, Hope and I went to the Museu Oscar Niemeyer on the north side of Curitiba. Constructed by Niemeyer in 1967, the building's original purpose was to house an educational facility.

In 2002 the entire complex was converted to museum space and renamed in honor of Brasil's most famous (and still living) architect. The centerpiece of the museum, the portion depicted here, is known as the Museu do Olho or Museum of the Eye which was created by Niemeyer when the conversion to a museum took place.

This structure is a fine example of Niemeyer's classic work with its emphasis on curved lines placed in relation to rectangular shapes. It serves as an important symbol of Brasilian identity and also as an international monument to modern architecture. It is worth noting that Niemeyer is considered the last great modern architect. All of his contemporaries are deceased; Niemeyer, at 101, still lives in Rio de Janeiro.
The interior is no less strange than the exterior. This view shows the hallway between the main exhibition hall and the entrance to the "eye."

There are several current exhibits on display, including a collection of pottery artifacts from the American Southwest. Another exhibit focused on the life and works of Nise da Silveira, the first woman psychiatrist of note in Brasil. Among other important contributions, da Silveira introduced Jungian concepts and techniques to South America in the 1950s by writing the first book in Brasil about Carl Jung. Her work included the use of art and animals in the therapy of psychiatry patients. The exhibit at this museum included original images created by schizophrenic patients in the process of treatment, although there is another similar museum in Rio which was established by da Silveira in 1952. Click here for a link containing more information on Nise da Silveira and the idea of "Images of the Unconscious" in Brasil. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_go2043/is_/ai_n29076018

After exploring several galleries, we finally took our leave of the museum. On our way out, a sea serpent sculpture waved good bye to us. It is a fitting conclusion to a day at the Museu Oscar Niemeyer.

1 comment:

marcelpace said...

the serpent is probably one of Brennand's sculptures that lies on Mon's.
Another quite good brazilian artist..