press release

Renata Lucas's works examine the ways in which the built environment informs social relations and actions. In site-specific interventions, she manipulates architectural structures in order to deconstruct socially defined spaces and their uses and test novel and playful possibilities, sometimes initiating a fresh discussion of ideas of privacy and public sphere, interior and exterior, or history and the present.

The measures the artist takes are always based on her personal perspective on the site in question and build on extensive research and often also on complex negotiations. By means of additions, duplications, or superimpositions, Renata Lucas implements subtle alterations that propose an alternative way of perceiving a place. For Cruzamento (2003), for example, Lucas installed a second pavement made of plywood panels on an intersection in Rio de Janeiro. As pedestrians or vehicles passed over it, the panels, which were loosely laid on the ground, rattled, adding a powerful acoustic component to what was in visual terms a fairly inconspicuous intervention. The artist had created a temporary stage on which the passersby and drivers present at any given time were free to perform more or less deliberately. She then recycled the plywood boards for her installation Falha (2003/07): she mounted them on hinges and laid them out on the floor of a gallery space in Los Angeles as an architectural element the visitors were invited to modify.

At the Secession, too, Renata Lucas makes the spatial situation she finds in the downstairs gallery the point of departure for her considerations. The space features limited connections between the interior and exterior, which are accordingly marked as escape routes, and the floor plan appears fragmented, with many nooks and crannies. The artist's site-specific work includes a handrail that effortlessly blends in with the existing installations and so is only faintly perceptible as an addition; it guides visitors through the rooms to the point where the escape routes cross. In a second project, Lucas draws up an escape plan of her own, for Adolfo Bioy Casares's story Plan de evasión [A Plan for Escape], first published in 1945. Subdivided by the artist into six chapters, the narrative finds an unexpected way to reach what is, to it, the outside world: its readers—like a parasite of sorts, the text infiltrates other books.

Renata Lucas was born in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil, in 1971 and lives and works in Rio de Janeiro.

Invited by the board of the Secession Curated by Jeanette Pacher