Creating a spectacular and invasive Gordian Knot, Henrique Oliveira plays with Palais de Tokyo’s architecture, allowing a work that combines the vegetal and the organic to emerge. The building itself becomes the womb that produces this volume of “tapumes” wood, a material used in Brazilian towns to construct the wooden palisades that surround construction sites.
Through a kind of architectural anthropomorphism, Henrique Oliveira reveals the building’s structure. At Palais de Tokyo, he plays on the space’s existing and structuring features, prolonging and multiplying pillars in order to endow them with a vegetable and organic dimension, as though the building were coming alive. The artist draws inspiration from medical textbooks, amongst others, and particularly from studies of physical pathologies such as tumors. Through a formal analogy, these outgrowths evoke the outermost layers of the bark of a common tree. The texture of this wooden tapumes installation inevitably calls to mind certain tree essences from Amazonian, humid tropical forests: the rivulets and other nodes constitute uncontrollable networks, in a logic that Man can no longer suppress.