Brígida Baltar

1959 | Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Brígida Baltar — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Portrait of Brígida Baltar, Courtesy of Nara Roesler São Paulo

Brazilian visual artist.

Brígida Baltar studied at the Escola de Artes Visuais do Parque Lage and was active in the 1980s student movement. She was also a member of the Visorama group, which she considers foundational in the process of her artistic training. She works in diverse media, ranging from video, performance, photography, drawing and sculpture to installations.
She draws on her own life in subtle, poetic ways. Her home is a recurrent theme in her work. In the 1990s she began using her house in the Rio neighbourhood of Botafogo as an object of study, collecting various materials found there, such as dust from the bricks, the water dripping from leaks, and chips of paint, wood and the walls, storing them for later use. She has worked in and on this house for almost a decade.

In her 1996 performance piece Abrigo [Shelter], she extracted bricks from a wall of her house to form a hole shaped exactly like her silhouette and then climbed into it. A series of photos document this action. In 2006, she travelled to Colchester for her first solo show in the UK, An Indoor Heaven, where she presented preexisting works and others made especially for this exhibition, using the brick dust she had previously harvested and transformed into installations and drawings on the walls – drawings that evoked her country’s landscapes.
Casa de abelha [Bee House, 2002] is another production in which this artist further reflects on the question of home. In this case, she recorded a performance (also in her house) in which she used a piece of cloth she had embroidered to mimic a beehive. Later, she reiterated this performance in a natural setting.
In the Colectas [Collections], a project she carried out from 1994 to 2010, she shifted her indoor experiment outdoors. In this series of actions she tries to capture and bottle various substances such as mist, air and maresia, a Portuguese word that means “salt air,” referring specifically to the saltwater-freighted air found in places near the sea shore. She used specially conceived and designed clothing and other materials for this piece. Like the previously mentioned performances, this action was documented by video and still photos.

B. Baltar critiques the contemporary world where the incessant demand for productivity leaves no room for fantasy and contemplation. Her videos and installations offer a different sense of time, beckoning viewers to enter the alternate universes she offers.
In 2015, this artist embarked upon the practice of engraving. She made three series using this medium, exploring the concept of hybridisation from different angles. Two years later, she experimented with ceramics in the series A carne do mar [The flesh of the sea, 2017-2018), based on childhood memories and continuing the exploration of the concept of hybridisation she had pursued in her embroidery. B. Baltar continues to produce new work based on her personal experiences – pieces that are subtle and poetic no matter what media they are made in.

Guillermina Cabra

Translated from Spanish by Leo Stephen Torgoff.

A notice produced as part of the TEAM international academic network: Teaching, E-learning, Agency and Mentoring

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