Mira Schendel

Mira Schendel was born in Zurich in 1919. She emigrated to Brazil shortly after the end of the Second World War where she started her artistic career as a ceramist and painter. Initially she worked in the medium of clay, moving then to painting, drawing and sculpture in which she created a signature style of minimalist and gestural compositions. The turning point of Schendel´s career was 1964, when she started producing works on Japanese paper through which brought her international acclaim. Her images are sophisticated and delicate compositions, which make use of a silent language to evoke existential and metaphysical questions. The series Monotypes (1964–5) and Escritas (1965) make references to language and typography through the unsystematic use of signs and calligraphy on a colourless and translucent background. In these works the image is substituted by handwriting. Yet the iconic pieces of this period are a three-dimensional work made of knotted rice paper entitled Droguinhas, and a sculpture of accumulated papers hanging from a nylon thread entitled Trenzinho. In 2009, MoMa held an exhibition entitled Tangled Alphabets: León Ferrari and Mira Schendel, which has been the most comprehensive retrospective international display to date. Her work has been acquired by MoMa, Tate, MNCARS and Daros Latinamerica, among others. She died in São Paulo in 1988 at the age of 69.