Stephan Doitschinoff (aka Calma)
Novo Asceticismo (New Asceticism)
December 10, 2011
through January 7, 2012
NEW YORK, NY (November 1, 2011) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Novo Asceticismo, new works by Sao Paulo-based Brazilian artist Stephan Doitschinoff (Calma), in what will be his second solo exhibition at the gallery. The show will feature canvases, drawings and multiples incorporated into a mixed-media installation and the debut of two new short films entitled Brilho do Sol (Sunshine) and Tudo é Vaidade (All is Vanity).
Doitschinoff creates a unique visual language and style by embracing his eclectic influences. Themes in his work are inspired by an informed spiritual history and heritage, rich in symbolism and often accompanied by Latin text. In Novo Asceticismo (New Asceticsm), he reflects on the sacrifice and deprivation necessary for modern man to live purely, without feeling alienated or falling into vices, mental traps and social conditioning of contemporary society. He explores concepts constituting new forms of practicing austerity in regards to self-discipline in manners of sexuality and the body as well as contemporary Shamanism. The work is permeated by themes of Asceticsm, redefined to reflect political issues of our times.
To research for this exhibition, Doitschinoff traveled to Portugal, studying cultural festivals of the northern region and the traditions of caretos who wear Ibera masks. These ceremonies and masks were the artist’s main inspiration in Lisbon where he created an installation in the form of a temple to serve as the site for his performance piece, Briho do Sol (Sunshine), documented in a short film which will be shown for the first time during Novo Ascenticismo.
As written by Carlo McCormick: “Subject to the effects of Christian fundamentalism and strict education in the wake of a two-decade-long military dictatorship in his native Brazil, Doitschinoff is responsive to (it’s) violence, institutional corruption and poverty. With his personal study of religious art and affinity for spiritualist practices—a synthesis of European Catholicism with African vernacular (Macumba in particular)—he can migrate with fluidity from street to chapel, producing fine art conjoined with both Western painting and indigenous folkloric craft traditions. Iconoclastic and outside institutional teachings of the church or esoteric theological systems, Doitschinoff is not concerned with conveying precepts of faith so much as investigating the psychic and historical topography of what it means to believe… He understands ‘god’ as a socio-cultural condition.”
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Stephan Doitschinoff (Calma) is a self-taught artist, born in 1977 in São Paulo, Brazil, where he is currently based. As the son of an Evangelical minister, Doitschinoff spent his childhood absorbing the visual vocabulary of religious art. As an artist, he has developed his own unique language and style through imagery that creatively combines Afro-Brazilian folklore with Baroque religious iconography, as well as Alchemic and Pagan symbolism. Stephan’s street alias, Calma (Portuguese for: Calm) is also a shortened version of con alma (Latin for: with soul). He has exhibited in museums and galleries in the US, Brazil and Europe.
In 2005, Doitschinoff moved to the Brazilian countryside of Bahia where he lived until 2008. During this time, the artist created a site-specific public project, embracing the entire surrounding community. In the small village of Lençóis, he painted murals on adobe houses, chapels and even a cemetery. The short film TEMPORAL (directed by Bruno Mitih) documents the process involved in this ambitious endeavor. While living in the Bahia region, Doitschinoff studied the area's culture through local devotional art and street festivals, expanding his ongoing research into the rich history of Brazilian folklore and the syncretism between Christian theology, indigenous/tribal and African spiritual traditions. To watch the film, please click HERE or the image below: