Tomie Ohtake at Estação Consolação

3 Apr

Architect Ruy Ohtake’s work is well known – his Torrre Faria Lima and Torrre Pedroso de Moraes, housing the Instituto Cultural Tomie Ohtake, is a familiar Sao Paulo landmark. The locals know the lower tower in the foreground by another more affectionate name.

tower

Foreground, inverted ziggurat and sculptural support in the shape of star fruit – known as Palácio da Carambola

More on Ruy Ohtake at http://theproverbial.org/2012/06/21/reading-compulsive-architecture/  and   https://brasilart.org/2012/07/19/trophy-towers/  .

His mother Tomie Ohtake is an established Brazilian painter, represented in the collections of the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo (MASP) and the Ibiripuera Auditorium, among others. Like her son, she uses bright areas and blocks of colour.

Tomie Ohtake, Composição em Amarelo, Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo MASP

Tomie Ohtake, Composição em Amarelo, Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo MASP

Entrance to theatre, Instituto Ohtake, architect Ruy Ohtake

Tomie Ohtake’s work is also on more public display. On a recent trip to Santos I used the Green Line, the Linha Verde or Line 2 of the Sao Paulo Metro. I was struck once more by the unabashed way in which Brazilian architects use exposed raw concrete in their work, alongside colourful tiling deployed with equal abandon. I have seen it in other settings.

Concrete and tile, Clube Paineiras do Morumby

Concrete and tile, Clube Paineiras do Morumby

The Metro stations use the same vernacular. See  http://theproverbial.org/2012/07/24/the-yellow-line/  .

Tomie Ohtake takes the language a step further. She has hung long shallow strips of primary-coloured tiling along the platform at Estação Consolação. The grey concrete is an effective foil for the colour, but more than that, the swooping shapes of the darker hues inserted from the top edge appear to dip as the slowing trains pull in, the uptick at the end of the shape reflecting the speed with which the train comes to a stop. She uses the kinetic aspect of her setting with refreshing playfulness.

Art advert ...

Overview for stationary passengers

The way the piece interacts with its setting even for stationary passengers is also an unexpected pleasure. You may not see the  colours swoop while standing on the platform, but the reflection in the steel pedestrian strip shows the work in a different light. The subtle and playful use of colour, shape and light enlivens the drabbest grey. You begin to understand why Tomie Ohtake has achieved her respected status, and how art can animate the urban built environment.

P.S Here’s the yellow panel in more detail, a beautifully realised colour balance.

Detail, tiled panel

Detail, tiled panel

 

 ... and the art itself

Platform Estação Consolação

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