City of stars
The exhibition City of Stars marks a major turning point in the artistic and conceptual practice of Rodrigo Matheus, who has been based in France for the last four years. The title comes from a brutalist architectonic complex called “La cité des Etoiles,” realized between 1976 and 1982 by Jean Renaudie (1925-1981), within the scope of revitalizing the city of Givors. Drawing inspiration from the French architect’s work, Rodrigo Matheus presents us with an immersive exhibition.
Rodrigo Matheus, imbued by Brazilian brutalist architecture, wished to create works that would fluctuate between an homage to and an interrogation on this architecture in France. In this exhibition, he reflects on the suburb as a space of social construction and creativity, dear to Jean Renaudie.
The formal aspects of his works underline not only the radical aesthetic experience of these projects, but also the social and political responses they offer society. The sculptures’ forms adhere to the technical drawings of Jean Renaudie’s buildings. They underline the diagonals and the lack of symmetry, while also responding to the strategy of spacial organization. Inside, the subdivisions reveal niches, living spaces that welcome a range of materials and objects from daily life. Rodrigo Matheus appropriates Renaudie’s architecture and lives inside it in real life: his studio is located inside the Ivry-sur-Seine development.
Rodrigo Matheus’s imposing and subtle sculptures overturn the transition from horizontal to vertical, from blueprint to realization, from idea to materiality. By inverting and distorting the orientations, Rodrigo Matheus reveals a new perception and understanding of these architectures that are devoid of right angles. Rough, protruding, but also clever and harmonious, these sculptures give tangibility to this vast, concrete architecture, which is impossible to grasp in its entirety. With a critical gaze, Rodrigo Matheus explores the social and political narratives that are intrinsic to these places. The pedestals, also made of concrete, confirm the brutalist character of these creations and establish an ambiguous dialogue between the different scales.