Maxwell Alexandre: Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window | David Zwirner
A detail from an artwork by Maxwell Alexandre, titled Dalila retocando meus dreads, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window

David Zwirner is pleased to present Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, an exhibition of new works by the Brazilian artist Maxwell Alexandre (b. 1990), on view at the gallery’s London location. This is Alexandre’s first solo exhibition in the United Kingdom.

Raised and residing in Rio de Janeiro’s Rocinha favela, Alexandre roots his practice in the densely populated and socioeconomically diverse neighbourhood that surrounds his studio. Observing how forces such as the evangelical church, organised crime, and state violence exert control in the city’s favelas, the artist makes visible the primary authorities that shape the lives of its Black inhabitants and amplifies everyday symbols that serve as displays of strength and resilience.

 

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Image: Maxwell Alexandre, Dalila retocando meus dreads, 2020 (detail)

 

The gallery is temporarily closed to the public as per government guidelines with respect to COVID-19. For enquiries regarding our current exhibition by Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, or to make an appointment with one of our directors, please call the gallery number: +44 (0)20 3538 3165 or email [email protected].

Dates
December 2, 2020January 30, 2021
Artist
Maxwell Alexandre

Maxwell Alexandre’s ongoing Pardo é Papel series takes its name from the Portuguese word pardo, meaning “brown,” which refers to the kraft paper Alexandre uses as well as to the census-designated category in Brazil describing Afro-Brazilian people and others of mixed race. 

Conceived like an album, the exhibition reflects the impact of hip-hop music on contemporary Black storytelling. Alexandre’s work is influenced by the Brazilian rappers Baco Exu do Blues, Djonga, and BK’, and this show’s title is taken from a verse by Tyler, the Creator.

A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Close a door to open a window, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Close a door to open a window, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, hair relaxer, bitumen, graphite, acrylic, pigment, charcoal and oil stick on brown kraft paper
125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm

“My production is guided by the work of Black poets who have had the same experiences as me.”

—Maxwell Alexandre, in conversation with Matthieu Lelièvre, 2019

Listen to a playlist created by the artist to accompany this exhibition.

“Painting is a very exclusive medium, elitist and codified, while rap is considered one of the voices of the periphery.… So when I paint a rap verse, it’s a chance to bridge the gap between these two worlds.”

—Maxwell Alexandre, in conversation with Matthieu Lelièvre, 2019

A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Peço bênção pra sair e pra chegar, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Peço bênção pra sair e pra chegar, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, bitumen, charcoal and acrylic on brown kraft paper
125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm

“By depicting black bodies on kraft paper, the artist playfully reaffirms the idea of a reclaimed blackness through images that deliberately focus on the celebration of self-esteem.… Rather than focusing on a single event, most of these sprawling ‘museum size’ paintings are populated by numerous characters rendered without any distinct facial features, dark skin and blonde hair who are all different versions of the artist himself.” 

—Kiki Mazzucchelli, “Maxwell Alexandre: The World Is Ours,” Maxwell Alexandre: Pardo é papel, 2019

“What I’m focusing on is emancipation, self-esteem, wealth, and also the willingness to fight, and that’s precisely what these rappers are talking about. With that in common, I picked out a few song lyrics and transposed them into paintings.”

—Maxwell Alexandre, in conversation with Matthieu Lelièvre, 2019

A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Dalila retocando meus dreads, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Dalila retocando meus dreads, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, hair relaxer, bitumen, acrylic, pigment, graphite, charcoal, oil stick and Romeo mirror on brown kraft paper in two (2) parts

Overall: 125 7/8 x 244 1/8 inches
320 x 620 cm

Part 1: 125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches

320 x 480 cm
Part 2: 62 7/8 x 47 1/4 inches
160 x 120 cm


“His characters are not confined to the usual stereotypical view of black populations … appearing instead as multifaceted expressions of behaviours and desires that make up a more complex and honest portrait of black urban culture in Brazil.”

—Kiki Mazzucchelli, “Maxwell Alexandre: The World Is Ours,” 2019

A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Pisando no céu, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Pisando no céu, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, bitumen, graphite, acrylic, charcoal and oil stick on brown kraft paper
125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Me dê a maçã, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Me dê a maçã, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, hair relaxer, bitumen, pigment, graphite, acrylic, charcoal and oil stick on brown kraft paper in two (2) parts
Part 1: 125 7/8 x 94 1/2 inches
320 x 240 cm
Part 2: 125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled I saw things I imagined, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

I saw things I imagined, 2020
Liquid shoe polish on brown kraft paper
125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Pintei o Éden de preto, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Pintei o Éden de preto, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, bitumen, colored pencil and acrylic on brown kraft paper
125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
An installation view of an exhibition titled, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, at David Zwirner London in 2020.

Installation view, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, David Zwirner, London, 2020

Installation view, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, David Zwirner, London, 2020

A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Dois quadros SAMO na parede, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Dois quadros SAMO na parede, 2020
Latex, bitumen and acrylic on brown kraft paper in two (2) parts

Overall: 125 7/8 x 385 7/8 inches
320 x 980 cm

Each: 125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches

320 x 480 cm


“Where I live, in the Rocinha favela, contemporary art isn’t a commodity; hardly anybody is interested in it or knows what it is about. So painting rap lyrics is also a way to try to bridge that gap. It gives my work a chance to engage the interest of the members of my community.”

—Maxwell Alexandre, in conversation with Matthieu Lelièvre, 2019

An installation view of an exhibition titled, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, at David Zwirner London in 2020.

Installation view, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, David Zwirner, London, 2020

Installation view, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, David Zwirner, London, 2020

An installation view of an exhibition titled, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, at David Zwirner London in 2020.

Installation view, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, David Zwirner, London, 2020

Installation view, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, David Zwirner, London, 2020

An installation view of an exhibition titled, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, at David Zwirner London in 2020.

Installation view, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, David Zwirner, London, 2020

Installation view, Maxwell Alexandre, Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window, David Zwirner, London, 2020

A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled If you could die and come back to life, up for air from the swimming pool, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

If you could die and come back to life, up for air from the swimming pool, 2020
Latex, bitumen, liquid shoe polish, graphite, acrylic and charcoal on brown kraft paper in three (3) parts
Part 1 & 2: 125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
Part 3: 62 7/8 x 94 1/2 inches
160 x 240 cm

“I aim to reflect on the context of the global pandemic in which this exhibition was born, with doors closed to the world, in isolation, imposed by social distancing. Our only possible source of natural light, hope, connection, and dreams has been the window.”

—Maxwell Alexandre, in conversation with the gallery, 2020

Inquire about works by Maxwell Alexandre

A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled I saw things I imagined, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

I saw things I imagined, 2020
Liquid shoe polish on brown kraft paper
125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Pintei o Éden de preto, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Pintei o Éden de preto, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, bitumen, colored pencil and acrylic on brown kraft paper
125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Me dê a maçã, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Me dê a maçã, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, hair relaxer, bitumen, pigment, graphite, acrylic, charcoal and oil stick on brown kraft paper in two (2) parts
Part 1: 125 7/8 x 94 1/2 inches
320 x 240 cm
Part 2: 125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Pisando no céu, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Pisando no céu, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, bitumen, graphite, acrylic, charcoal and oil stick on brown kraft paper
125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Peço bênção pra sair e pra chegar, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Peço bênção pra sair e pra chegar, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, bitumen, charcoal and acrylic on brown kraft paper
125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Dalila retocando meus dreads, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Dalila retocando meus dreads, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, hair relaxer, bitumen, acrylic, pigment, graphite, charcoal, oil stick and Romeo mirror on brown kraft paper in two (2) parts

Overall: 125 7/8 x 244 1/8 inches
320 x 620 cm

Part 1: 125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches

320 x 480 cm
Part 2: 62 7/8 x 47 1/4 inches
160 x 120 cm


A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Close a door to open a window, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Close a door to open a window, 2020
Latex, liquid shoe polish, hair relaxer, bitumen, graphite, acrylic, pigment, charcoal and oil stick on brown kraft paper
125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled Dois quadros SAMO na parede, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

Dois quadros SAMO na parede, 2020
Latex, bitumen and acrylic on brown kraft paper in two (2) parts

Overall: 125 7/8 x 385 7/8 inches
320 x 980 cm

Each: 125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches

320 x 480 cm


A painting by Maxwell Alexandre titled If you could die and come back to life, up for air from the swimming pool, dated 2020.

Maxwell Alexandre

If you could die and come back to life, up for air from the swimming pool, 2020
Latex, bitumen, liquid shoe polish, graphite, acrylic and charcoal on brown kraft paper in three (3) parts
Part 1 & 2: 125 7/8 x 188 7/8 inches
320 x 480 cm
Part 3: 62 7/8 x 94 1/2 inches
160 x 240 cm

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          Pardo é Papel: Close a door to open a window

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