What if our current crisis was mainly a crisis of knowledge? What if we realized that the hyper-specialization of our concerns and areas of knowledge were leading us to a myopic, or worse, cynical blindness? How to reestablish a cosmogonic vision of the world, when human evolution is impulsed by technical, economic and scientific development, while there is an evident ethical, psychological and affective degradation? Magical thought is at the base of myths and folklore, offering an analogy between microcosm (human spirit, mind, body), and a macrocosm (cosmos, universe, nature). In this way of thought, there is a connection name/thing, object/image. I believe that it is possible to speak of magic from a secular perspective. After all, Junge speaks of Mana, Bergson of “élan vital”, Jane Bennett of vibrant matter, and Jeremy Narby of universal genetic communication through DNA. I present art as shamanic practice and trance as a source of knowledge, observing heterogenous epistemologies without falling into superstition, understanding the world as a web of interconnections on all levels.
I create sculptures from recycled and discarded materials which are often malleable and even wearable, and address a series of environmental and behavioral issues. These sculptures unfold into installations and photo-performances. The vital materiality of quotidian objects is my starting point and leads me to a reevaluation of the dichotomy between life/inanimate, human/nature. I believe that a shift in hierarchy can result in a greener approach to self, culture and nature. In the emergence of a creative state, I am interested in the appearance of primal forms, remnants of timeless myths and ceremonial objects, and in this sense I refer to art as shamanic practice: by limiting the presence of consciousness and the censoring ego in the process, I hope to channel an essential poetry.
Sandra Lapage lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil. Sandra is a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grantee in 2022. She was a recipient of the Repaint History Artist Fund, summer 2021.
She got her MFA from the Maine College of Art in 2013. She has participated in collective and solo exhibitions in Brazil, Europe, Asia and the United States, notedly at the Brazilian Embassy in Brussels (2007), Ribeirão Preto Art Museum (2006), Centro Cultural São Paulo in 2012, Gowanus Loft (NYC) in 2014-2015, Blumenau Art Museum, Aura Arte Contemporânea (São Paulo) in 2018, Museu de Arte de Ribeirão Preto and Andrea Rehder Arte Contemporânea (São Paulo) in 2019; in 2020 at A60 Contemporary Artspace (Milan), Kunsthalle am Hamburguer Platz (Berlin), Surface Gallery (UK), Tianjin International Digital Imaging (China), SP-Arte (Brazil), CICA Museum (Korea), BG Gallery (Los Angeles/Artsy); Antipode Gallery (France), Royal Society of American Art, Sculptors Alliance (NYC), John B. Aird Gallery (Canada), and Espronceda (Spain) in 2021. She curates In Praise of Magic, a Latin American exhibition at Paradice Palase and Local Projects, New York. In 2022, she is part of the juried Alumni Triennial at the ICA Portland, Maine.
Twice the recipient of the Odyssée grant, Sandra has resided at various institutions such as the Fondation Château Mercier (Switzerland) and NARS Foundation (NYC), Camac Art Center (France), Paul Artspace (USA), Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Monson Arts, Château de Goutelas (France) and is scheduled to attend Art OMI in 2023.
Her work was featured on Bluebee Magazine, Artmarket Magazine, Friend of the Artist, Art Hole Magazine, Create Magazine, Studio Visit Magazine.
Sandra was a visiting artist at the Tyler School of Art and Maine College of Art, United States.
In addition to her solo work, she develops a collaborative work in duo Eclusa and runs the independent artspace Galpão Japaratuba.
When did you first begin creating art?
I’ve spent I great deal of time by myself as a child and teenager; loneliness has brought me the challenge but also opportunity to learn to entertain myself and find pleasure by using the means around me, stay simple and everyday materials. I started painting as a teenager, but I’ve always been drawn to draw, paint on, and transform my clothes, adorn my hair with objects and rags, and create wall paintings and collages. As I look back, although painting seemed to be the most direct outlet to my creativity, I realize now that I’ve always been drawn to objects and the idea of connecting whatever came out of my hands to space.
When did you first consider yourself to be an artist?
I first considered myself an artist when I abandoned my career as a designer and decided to focus on painting, then later woodblock printmaking, installation, and lately creating sculptures and assemblages out of found materials.
Who or what influences your practice?
Reading and seeing art, fashion, and folk art. I tend to read a variety of disciplines, from scientific essays to philosophy, but also different modes of thinking and epistemologies.
Tell us about a specific moment in your career that you would consider a turning point.
So many! The first was definitely the life work of Factor Cheval, a postal worker in France who created a Palace out of ordinary materials. From then on, I have found strength in the work of ‘outsider artists’ or ‘art brut’. However, if I had to choose the most striking encounter, the one that has definitely reshaped my practice, I should say El Anatsui. At that time, I was concerned about my accumulation of traditional materials, as I always enjoyed working big: there was an excess of paper, cloth, cardboard, canvas, objects…it made me feel as if I was doing something superficial as I brought “stuff” into a world already clogged with too much stuff, and it made me question the meaning behind my art making. I was already shifting from traditional art materials to the collection of natural and man-made debris, as if envisioning a large decaying wonder cabinet. But when I saw El Anatsui’s intelligent and masterfully crafted work at the Brooklyn Museum, with an extraordinary mixture of perfection from afar and a certain roughness of materials from up close, speaking to accumulation, trash and decay (amongst so many other things!), I sensed that I had perhaps found a path for myself. It took me a couple of years to get over that encounter and actually be able to realize something with recycled materials that are part of my every day and continuously finding their way to me in an organic manner.
Where would you like to see your artwork go in the future?
I have been very inspired by the work of textile artists Mrinalini Mukherjee and Jagoda Buic. Looking at their organic sculptural and monumental textile constructions, I sense paths for my own materiality to move towards assemblages and installations that relate and respond to space, inviting the viewer into an immersive experience.