Body as place, art as exile*

Bololô, the amorphous concentration of material, is a basic element of much of Frida Baranek’s work, something so characteristic of her output that it could be taken as her signature. She often employs wads of metal wiring as her material, that might appear to be junk. However, when she unravels them and adds further elements, in themselves semantically trivial, they are transmuted and acquire new meanings. In both Unclassified (1992) and BBB (1993) spatially expanding metallic clouds draw together flat metallic surfaces, wires, airplane components, air, interpretations, glances.

These murundus, another key word that resonates throughout these works, are sometimes produced from metal sheets, rods and stones. The elements vary, but the articulation of common materials is a constant, generating something distinct and significant. In other words: art.

* by Roberto Conduru, in Frida Baranek
isbn: 9788589365475
language: English / Portuguese
pages: 240
publisher: Barleu Edições Ltda

by Ana Carolina Ralston

Among the many reinventions of modernity lies the fact that we have gradually shifted the place and state of social relations. If in the Middle Ages the aim was to endure and establish fixed and immutable bonds, in contemporary times displace-ment and malleability [...]

by Claudia Calirman

Always on the move, Frida Baranek’s trajectory in the past few decades has been marked by the journey itself rather than by any specific destination. Dislocating between Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paris, Berlin, New York, and London, she is currently based in Miami, on her way to Lisbon. Her peripatetic path has been touched by the intensity of her encounters and unforeseen situations as she seeks out, welcomes, and embraces new possibilities and challenges.

by Rafael Fonseca

Liminaridade 2019 [Liminality]

The borders between materials and those related to sculpture and their surroundings are some of the central interests in the new series of works by Frida Baranek. This equation between matter and space is inherent to sculpture in its historical perspective; from antiquity to the ephemerality of the installations made in the last fifty years, showing a three-dimensional art object has always been configured as a tensioning between scales, colors and materialities. [...]

by Roberto Corundu

Art Nexus (Outubro 2017)

The borders between materials and those related to sculpture and their surroundings are some of the central interests in the new series of works by Frida Baranek. This equation between matter and space is inherent to sculpture in its historical perspective; from antiquity to the ephemerality of the installations made in the last fifty years, showing a three-dimensional art object has always been configured as a tensioning between scales, colors and materialities.

by Roberto Corundu

“Play / Live” 2014

In Mudança de Jogo [‘Game Change’], the absence of metallic elements that have become characteristic in the work of Frida Baranek could be construed as a sign of transformation. Even so, many of the materials comprising the new sculptures have been used by her before. Indeed, her work has made use of processed materials from the mineral, vegetable and animal realms, such as marble dust and bits of rubber, felt and leather, or otherwise in the form of artefacts, as in this case: glass rods and hula hoops, hemp bags, sisal rope. The difference now is not so much in their variety, but rather the simultaneity with which she displays and experiments with them. And significantly, this calls to mind the beginning of her journey.

by Catherine Bompuis

“Confrontos”, MAM-RJ 2013

Confrontos refers to an attitude as much as to a work process, thus introducing an affective dimension that infuses the object with a lived-in emotion, in a confrontation where to endeavor and to try oneself out appear as constitutive elements of the experience. The existential poetic, the need to confront and to confront oneself without any formal predetermination, reveals the phenomenological approach of these objects. Art and life form a whole that originates within the experience itself. The sculpture of Frida Baranek is the expression of the examination of her perceptive life, her feelings and emotions.

by Luiz Camillo Osorio

Detachment and instability

Frida Baranek’s trajectory is punctuated by her constant displacements — a voluntary poetic diaspora that led her to leave Brazil to study in the United States, to return here, to move to Europe (Paris and then Berlin) and, finally, to settle in New York. Intentionally displaced — or belonging in part to all these places at once — she sought in sculpture a counterpoint to movement. Since the 1980s, weight and a raw materiality have been the recurrent elements of her work, a temporary way of taking root, given the contingency of movement. The use of materials is a determinant element of her poetic. They present themselves without rejecting an originally chaotic drive, tensioned by an act of ordering. It is from within this tension between structure and informality that symbolic anxieties silently come unmoored. [...]

by Jean Marie Wasilik

"Lange Pause"

What immediately struck me about the sculptures of Frida Baranek was how they both command and cede to their materiality. Her control of her media never feels controlling. Instead there is a palpable release into the physicality of whatever materials she uses, which have been many. They have included iron plate, bronze and iron wire, iron chains, powdered pigment, sisal, silk, deflating and disintegrating latex balloons, fragments of airplanes, and marble in blocks, shards, and pebbles. [...]

by Oscar D’Ambrosio

"Thought in action"

One of the greatest enigmas of art history-with ramifications, of course, in psychology and related sciences – is the question of what factors underlie creativity. No matter how much is written on this subject – and the theories are countless- there are three elements that combine in multiple ways: intuition, thought, and knowledge. Starting with intuition, and taking advantage of her artistic vision and familiarity with materials, Frida Baranek uses wire, iron, wood, stone, plastic, copper, stainless steel and aluminum as her main ingredients. She creates, thus, a game of combining forms and materials, one that takes into account the tension generated between these different elements in the name of a recurring preoccupation: to render thought visible in the form of sculptural action. [...]

by Knut Ebeling

"Threads and Tubes"

Frida Baranek’s works up to this point may be summarized as working within the Wittgensteinian conception of knowledge as thread. Her combinations of different materialities formed an organic whole whose strength lay in the assimilation of differences. The physical presence of her work did not stem from a single and coherent unit of material, but from a double disintegration: first, the whole was disintegrated by the alchimistic mix of several materials, then each of those materials was itself profoundly disintegrated. [...]

by Paulo Herkenhoff


Debris. Heaps of iron and stone. Remains of an awkward construction. So, Frida Baranek’s recent sculpture may seem to the eye which yields to the logical demands of her work. The artist herself proposes the temptation of fallacy when referring to the “reconstruction” situations of her sculpture. In the last years, after the landing and the clamor of the neo-expressionist painting, the dust of the pictorial pleasures lies down. A musical band passed, leaving its sounds and paintings. Now, we can see better the sculpture scene in Brazil. There are a ground and an atmosphere where the sculpture is historically concentrated in Camargo and Schendel and centered in the [...]

by Catherine Bompuis


The concept of sculpture as a stable object, the interest for the material and the manufacturing process situate Frida Baranek’s works within a practice of sculpture which developed in the eighties. The ruptures operated by Minimal Art, Conceptual Art, the in-situ practices and the attitudes felt as dogmatic by a certain number of artists generate practices based on individual research. Again Picasso’s, Julio Gonzalez’s, David Smith’s, Alexander Calder’s or Anthony Faro’s works are revisited in a history of sculpture intimately linked to material exploration. Thus is set the need to work within the limits of the material to reach the work’s content and visual expression, experienced as non-dissociable. Frida Baranek [...]

by Laura J. Hoptman

Laura J. Hoptman

Since Walter Benjamin’s pivotal essay of 1936, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, the reconciliation of the seemingly contradictory terms “art” and “technology” has been a central goal of the avant-garde. The aim was to destroy the monopoly on technology held by industry and demolish the aura of the art object as a natural expression of disembodied aesthetic value. What is missing from Benjamin’s discussion of the dialectic of political power in culture is consideration of gender for the dichotomy between art and technology, not to mention nature and culture, is inextricably bound in our society to femininity and masculinity. As the feminist critic Alice Jardine has pointed out [...]

by Aracy Amaral

Aperto 90 XLIV Venice Biennale*

The relationship to space is the essence of three-dimensional thinking in Frida Baranek’s creative expression. Simultaneously, the material, the matter, imposes itself through its aggressiveness visible at first impact. Catastrophist by the use of an industrialized society’s connotative elements, the character of deconstructivist “assemblage” presides over her vital instal­lations, significant in their spatiality: stone (granite or marble), iron plates, flexibles and oxidized wires compound her vocabulary in a vehement speech, apparently purely intuitive. The artist respects the material, which is perceptible in the implicit acceptance of its prior condition. [...]

by Paulo Venâncio Filho

Galeria Sergio Milliet (October 1988)

It is sculpture itself that is intended to be the issue here. More than this: it is presenting its current possibilities. Radical modern sculpture's destruction of the classical canons has not only meant a complete reformulation of subject and techniques; it has also been a subversion of sculpture's place. It could be said that it has been removed from its paradigmatic position as the centre of the space, as though submitted to the pressure of devastating centripetal and centrifugal forces. With the removal of its original verticality and its base, it found itself in the situation of solid matter suddenly turned into liquid; without shape, able to assume any form. It is then that, wandering and erratic, uncertain and without a centre, it seems to experiment, for the first time, its spatiality - opening out towards all spaces. [...]

by Lorenzo Mammi

Galeria Sergio Milliet (October 1988)

One can conceive and create a sculpture as a game of balance, construction, juxtaposition of forms. Or one can imagine the work as the product of an intervention, as though it were an instant (immobile, timeless) suspended from a curve in movement. The first type of sculpture expands, ideally along the horizontal, creates and constructs a space. The second delves into the depths, through two illusions of extension: the hypothesis of a past and the promise of future development. Frida Baranek's works appear to be remains, witnesses of a disaster. Their raison d'être is to be found elsewhere - an impact or an explosion that occurred in the past. In a series of works immediately prior to these that are on exhibition, the event (a stone falling onto metal sheets) appeared to have just occurred. [...]