Working initially with etchings, in the mid-1960s Farnese de Andrade started producing assemblages using objects such as heads and bodies of dolls, plaster saints and plastics, all corroded by the sea and collected from rivers, beaches and landfills. These works incorporated glass domes, cupboards, oratories, niches, boxes and religious images, and postcards.
These aged fragile objects carry an undecipherable affective load, amid a universe of sparse volatile personal references. The amalgamation of objects and images that characterizes his work resembles a collage of overlapping memories, a constant stirring and recreation of the past obsessively and disorderly in the present. His most common themes relate to the notion of life, fertilization, germination, birth and also death.
Farnese de Andrade's poetics address the unconscious and the intuitive. His work was diametrically opposed to the aesthetic trends of the time, marked by the rationality of the São Paulo constructive school. In the 1970s, his work was ostracized, considered alienated from politics and overly subjective. However, his work had a strong influence on the art produced in the 1980s and 1990s, due to the strength of its individuality and expressiveness.