Rivane Neuenschwander
Carnival Stories / Mermaid, 2006
Paper and glue
42 x 30 cm (16 1/2 x 11 3/4in)
$ 18,000

‘Carnival Stories/ Mermaid’ is a striking collage by Rivane Neuenschwander, constructed from coloured discs of paper in harmonious shades of green, blue and purple. These circular forms are arranged in an intricate pattern that recalls the abstract forms of Op Art whilst alluding to the scales of a fish. Each curved line is smoothly rendered from beneath and a disordered array of colour disperses above. Though meticulously arranged by the artist, this technique gives the impression of having occurred organically. Referencing the way in which patterns occur spontaneously in nature, this work explores the interplay between chance and order in everyday life. ​

This collage is part of an ongoing body of work by the Brazilian artist that hinges on the use of confetti and is directly inspired by Brazilian Carnival traditions. This example is related to Neuenschwander’s room-sized installation created in the same year titled ‘Secondary Stories’, which features a translucent ceiling filled with confetti, which is blown about by rotary fans and released through small holes into the room below. Neuenschwander explains, “The word ‘Stories’ in these works represents an attempt to access language and speech, while bringing attention to peripheral events that are not necessarily meant to be the focal point. Confetti is used in Brazil mainly during the Carnival celebration and implies impulsive, random and unpredictable gestures.”


Rivane Neuenschwander's ephemeral practice draws on the history of Latin American conceptualism to explore the interplay between chance and order in everyday life.

Neuenschwander was born in 1967 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. She lives and works in São Paulo, Brazil.

Neuenschwander is one of the most internationally renowned Brazilian artists of her generation. She often allows the influence of autonomous, transient forces – humans and animals being recurring elements – to dictate the production of her works. Themes of mutability, geography and nature underpin Neuenschwander’s practice. Highlighting the beauty of overlooked phenomena and seemingly banal gestures, she seeks to unveil, and make sense of, the chaotic logic that underpins both the natural and man-made worlds.

Neuenschwander’s unique take on Brazilian conceptualism investigates chance and control, at times through direct interaction with the viewer. Her innovative and experimental practise includes painting, photography, film, sculpture and installation. Identity is integral to her works; she draws from folk traditions and incorporates eclectic influences from Brazil’s diverse history of art movements.

Neuenschwander’s participatory works are made in collaboration with the viewer, involving a combination of games, experiments and spontaneous and participatory actions. Her works are shaped by an interest in language, nature, geography, time and social interactions and how these processes are connected. The materiality, use of colour and concern for the social aspect of art in her work invites comparisons to artists such as Hélio Oiticica and Lygia Clark.

Neuenschwander will have a major solo exhibition at Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz this winter, bringing together historical and recent works. The show will also be accompanied by a substantial publication on the artist’s work.

In 2013 Neuenschwander received the 6th Yanghyun Prize in Korea. In 2010 Neuenschwander was the subject of a mid-career survey ‘A Day Like Any Other’ that originated at the New Museum, New York and travelled to Mildred Kemper Art Museum, Saint Louis (2010); Miami Art Museum, Miami (2011) and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Dublin (2011). Notable solo exhibitions include ‘Tropics: Damned, Orgasmic and Devoted’, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, USA (2020); ‘O Alienista’, Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel, São Paulo, Brazil (2019); ‘Alegoria del Miedo (Allegory of Fear)’, NC-Arte Bogotá, Bogotá, Colombia (2018); ‘Rivane Neuenschwander and Cao Guimarães: Quarta-Feira de Cinzas/Epilogue’, Perez Art Museum Miami, Miami, Florida (2018); ‘The Name of Fear’, Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2017); ‘The Reading Box, The Moon, Misfortunes and Crimes’, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London, England (2017); ‘Secondary Stories’, SPACE, Linda Pace Foundation, San Antonio, Texas (2016); ‘The Name of Fear’, Museu de Arte do Rio (MAR), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2016); ‘Children’s Commission 2015: Rivane Neuenschwander’, Whitechapel Gallery, London, England (2015); ‘Rivane Neuenschwander: mal-entendidos/misunderstandings’, São Paulo Museum of Modern Art, São Paulo, Brazil (2014); ‘Quarta-feira de cinzas/Epilogue’, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2014); ‘POST - The Order and the Method’, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark (2013); ‘The Spiral and The Square. Exercises in Translatability’, Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Trondheim, Norway (2012) and ‘Wednesday Series’, Kadist Art Foundation, San Francisco, California (2012). Neuenschwander’s works are included in prominent collections internationally including: Tate, London, England; Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Vienna, Austria; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Spain; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Brazil; Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Instituto Inhotim, Brumadinho, Minas Gerais, Brazil and La Fundacion Jumex, Mexico City, Mexico.