The Paul Brach Visiting Artist Lecture Series Presents: Sofia Borges

The Paul Brach Visiting Artist Lecture Series Presents: Sofia Borges

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CalArts Campus


Sofia Borges is a conceptual artist who—for the past fifteen years—has been using photography to investigate philosophical notions around the relationship between matter, image and meaning. Considered one of the most pivotal Brazilian contemporary artists of her generation, in the first seven years of her career Borges developed a large and resounding body of works exploring photography and the expanded philosophical understanding of images. Following on from this, in the last five years, she began to produce installations and intricate practices that exercise the idea of a total artwork via complex curatorial projects and performances. More recently, she has also incorporated assemblage and painting into her image research. In 2016, she published The Swamp, an award-winning book-artwork that celebrates her first philosophical phase. In 2018, she co-curated the São Paulo Biennial, for which she put together a complex curatorial proposal in the form of a tragedy, which occupied an entire floor in the Biennial Pavilion. In 2021, Borges wrote and directed her first film The Fossil, the Eye and the Fire—the second act in her book-artwork—in which she investigates the relationship between biography, and the thinking and work that happens in the studio.

For seven years, she lived between São Paulo and Paris, dedicating herself to the research of pre-historical caves, as well as working at myriad art museums and paleontological and archeological research centers. After this crucial period living between Central Europe and Brazil, and photographing caves, museums, and natural history research centers, Borges began to spend extended periods of time in Greece, studying alchemy, mythology and theater. During this second phase in her career, the artist deepened her research into the relationship between culture and meaning and its modes of representation, such as the frameworks of religions, myths and theater, unfolding an intense dialogue between myth and matter, the material and the metaphysical.

In 2022, after being selected for the Jerusalem International Fellows in the US, the artist spent three months in Jerusalem, where she investigated the tragic and the sublime, focusing on the representation of sacred spaces. She also worked with Palestinian youth groups in collaboration with the Jewish institution. At the end of 2022, the artist moved to New York.

Sofia Borges (1984, Brazil) lives and works between São Paulo and New York.

Sofia Borges is represented by Kandlhofer in Vienna and Mendes Wood DM in São Paulo, New York and Brussels. Her work belongs to important international collections such as The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and Foam FotografieMuseum, as well as all the major institutional collections in Brazil, such as MASP, Pinacoteca de São Paulo, IMS, MAM SP, and Prêmio Pipa, amongst others.

Since the beginning of her career, Borges has been awarded several international and Brazilian prizes and other forms of recognition and has worked with a number of institutions and galleries across the world, such as in her recent duo-show with Edgar Degas at MASP and installations at MAR, Instituto Moreira Salles, and Nottingham Contemporary, as well as exhibitions linked to the Foam Talent Prize in Berlin and Amsterdam. Her works have traveled to many different countries, including Belgium (Mendes Wood DM, 2021); Austria (Kandlhofer Galerie, 2016/2020); South Korea (Daegu Arts Center, 2018); Greece (Float Gallery, 2017); Netherlands (Foam Fotografiemuseum, 2016); UK (Photo London, 2016, Nottingham Contemporary, 2022); France (White Project Galerie, 2015/2014; amongst others); USA (MOMA, 2018 and Steve Turner Gallery, 2014); China (Shanghai, Galeria Intelligentsia, 2014); Mexico (Galeria OMR, 2013); Portugal (Museu Coleção Berardo, 2013); and Spain (Galeria The Goma, 2013). In 2018, she co-curated the 33rd São Paulo Biennial with the a curated tragic play called The Infinite History of Things or The End of the Tragedy of One.