The last exhibition to occupy the special gallery, Brasa Rubor [Ember Redness], reflected on the color red and the circle in the artist’s oeuvre. The current show is Tomie Ohtake: Poetry Meditates, which relates her work to Asian poetry, particularly haikus – the poems of synthesis for an elementary art form based on consciously concise gestures. “As in Tomie's work, a haiku strives to reach experience through the essence of language,” adds curator Luise Malmaceda from Instituto Tomie Ohtake’s Research and Curation Center.
The exhibition title – Tomie Ohtake: Poetry Meditates – was taken from a piece in Haroldo de Campos' 1952 book on theory and practice of poetry (Teoria e prática do poema):
like a circle meditates in its center
like circle radii meditate it
crystal fulcrum of motion.”
The curator points out that the works selected for this exhibition are structured vertically, as in Japanese haikus, prints and paintings using concise synthetized gestures that sometimes denote calligraphic lines, and the YU-GEN album's 12 prints (1997). In the series comprising the album, Tomie's art is overlaid with Brazilian concrete poems by Haroldo de Campos that drew inspiration from Japan. In this piece created by the duo, the handwriting of the poet, a renowned translator of Japanese poetry into Portuguese, becomes image and interacts harmoniously with drawings imbued with Tomie's shapes and colors.
The prints on display reflect Tomie Ohtake's ability to innovate in this medium, for which she gained international recognition in 1972 when she was asked to show work in the Grafica D'Oggi room at the Venice Biennale – side by side with leading U.S. exponents of Pop Art – and the 1978 Tokyo Engraving Biennial, a traditional international event for this medium.