Zurich - Switzerland, 1919 São Paulo - São Paulo, 1988
Dividing her life between Mialn and Rome, the first works of Mira Schendel are still lifes and oil paintings, in which she progressively reduces the elements to simple figures. In the late 1940s, she turned to material experimentation, giving up figuration. She began to explore watercolor oil paint applied to the canvas surface, seeking the results this clash with materiality can yield.
From the 1960s, she intensifies her research with materials and supports, creating series, named according to the work process adopted: Such as Embroidery (works employing Japanese paper and Ecoline ink) and Monotypes (single prints on rice paper). Rice paper, traditionally used in engraving and from the ancient oriental culture, was a favorite of the artist. In addition to harking back to the material tradition of art, it is a delicate yet highly suitable support, reflecting its relationship with materiality in production.
Her material researches bustles to the tridimensional. Her installations display the ambiguous properties of the materials, in Ondas Paradas de Probabilidade (Still waves of Probability) (1969) exhibited in the 10th International Bienall of São Paulo, Schendel creates a immersive environment with nylon wires, exploring the relation between transparency, solidity and flexibility.
Mira Schendel's work is prolific and comprehensive, characterized by a delicate and silent poetic. Her deep exploration of media and materials serves as inspiration of a significant contingent of Brazilian contemporary artists. She participated in many editions of the São Paulo International Biennial, and had solo exhibitions in museums including the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo (MAM/SP) and Signals Gallery (London, England). In 2014, London's Tate Gallery presented a retrospective of her work.