23 June – 30 August 2015
Galleries 5 & 6, Free Entry

The Whitechapel Gallery has invited Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander (b. 1967) to make a work of art for the annual Children’s Commission. The new work explores childhood fears ranging from ‘spiders’ and ‘heights’ to ‘talking trees’ and ‘electric ghosts’.

Featuring an installation of vibrant handmade capes, the 2015 commission by Neuenschwander combines elements of drawing, textiles, design, performance and writing with her interest in the rich history of modern art in her native Brazil.

The artist worked with children aged 7-9 from across London to gather a broad collection of fears, from the ones shared by many throughout their lives such as ‘drowning’ or ‘bees’, to ‘strangers’, ‘nightmares’ or the more abstract ‘silence’. Neuenschwander has translated the children’s drawings and texts into fabric cape designs. Associated with protection and supernatural power, the capes also echo her interest in folk traditions, children’s literature, nature and psychoanalysis.

The title of the new commission, The Name of Fear is borrowed from the song ‘Araçá Azul’ (1972) by Brazilian composer, singer and writer Caetano Veloso, and echoes the poem ‘O Medo’ (Fear) by Brazilian poet Carlos Drummond de Andrade.

The project expands on I Wish Your Wish (2003), in which the artist drew from a Brazilian tradition where pilgrims bind ribbons inscribed with their wishes to their wrists, in the belief that when they fall off or disintegrate the wishes will be granted. The Name of Fear at the Whitechapel Gallery expands on this work, reflecting on how our personal wishes often mirror our most intense fears.

Rivane Neuenschwander was born in Belo Horizonte in Brazil, and currently lives and works in London. Her work is associated with Brazilian conceptualism covering sculpture, film, performance, painting and textiles. Ephemeral in nature and presentation, the artist’s installations often investigate the phenomena of memory, time and social interactions, and look at how these can be shared through language and objects.

Related Events

Prompted by her ideas around the new commission, Neuenschwander takes part in an In Conversation event at the Whitechapel Gallery on Thursday 16 July, 7pm with psychoanalyst and writer Anouchka Grose, discussing psychoanalysis, childhood and performativity.

Families are invited to join a free Family Day for all ages on Saturday 25 July 12-4pm with artist Laura X Carle and Fashion & Textiles students from London Metropolitan University. Activities include a fun workshop to make your own colourful capes to take home and a brand new Activity Trail to guide younger visitors through the Gallery.

For more information and to book visit whitechapelgallery.org

Notes to Editors

  • The annual Whitechapel Gallery Children’s Commission provides a platform for conversations around art and ideas, creative experimentation and play. Inviting leading contemporary artists to engage with a young audience, the commission asks them to look afresh at their work and how it is experienced. Past artists to undertake the Whitechapel Gallery Children’s Commissions are: Francis Upritchard (2014), Simon & Tom Bloor (2013), Eva Rothschild (2012), Alan Kane (2011), Jake & Dinos Chapman (2010) and Jessica Voorsanger (2009).
  • Rivane Neuenschwander (b. 1967, Brazil) has exhibited internationally over 20 years. Recent solo exhibitions include The fever, the sewing box and a ghost, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (2015); mal-entendidos/misunderstandings, São Paulo Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo, Brazil (2014); and Quarta-feira de cinzas/Epilogue, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, USA (2014). In 2010, the New Museum in New York presented Rivane Neuenschwander: A Day Like Any Other, a major survey exhibition that travelled to the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis, followed by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona, Miami Art Museum, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin through 2012. Further solo presentations include Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP) in Brazil (2014), Malmö Konsthall in Sweden (2010), St. Louis Art Museum in Missouri (2007), Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh (2007) and Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2003).
  • Group shows include Tate St Ives, Museum of Modern Art in New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Kunsthalle Wein in Austria, Stedelijk Museum in The Netherlands, and Moderna Museet in Stockholm. Neuenschwander was winner of the Yanghyun Prize in South Korea in 2013 and was shortlisted for the Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize in 2004.
  • The Children’s Commission is curated by Sofia Victorino, Daskalopoulos, Head of Education and Public Programmes and Selina Levinson, Curator: Families.
  • With special thanks to Lucas Nascimento, Gabriela Yiaxis and Elizabete Lobo for their support in the production of the work.
  • Additional thanks go to the participating teachers and students at the following schools: Columbia Road Primary, William Tyndale Primary, Osmani Primary and Thomas Buxton Primary.
  • The project is supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.

Visitor Information

Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm, Thursdays, 11am – 9pm. Free entry. Whitechapel Gallery, 77 – 82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX.  Nearest London Underground Station: Aldgate East, Liverpool Street, Tower Gateway DLR. W whitechapelgallery.org
T + 44 (0) 20 7522 7888 info@whitechapelgallery.org

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