Stephan Doitschinoff aka Calma
November 22, 2008
through December 20, 2008
NEW YORK, NY (November 3, 2008) — Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present Novo Mundo, a solo exhibition featuring new works by Stephan Doitschinoff, the Brazilian street artist also known as Calma. Calma 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, filtered through a distinctly urban point of view. The resulting imagery is rich in religious symbolism and often accompanied by Latin text as well as pichação (a style of graffiti writing, native to São Paolo).Having created a series of original paintings accompanied by site-specific installation pieces, Novo Mundo (Portuguese for: New World) marks Calma’s first solo show in New York. Inspired by religious street festivals popular in Brazil, such as São João and Nosso Senhor dos Passos, the installations were constructed using a variety of materials such as paper flags, silk fabric and hand painted kites, creating an altar and emulating traditional processional decorations.
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, Calma 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.”
The artist says, “I personally see the church as an archaic institution that always aimed to control the masses. I think it is an appropriate symbol for corrupt modern institutions like big corporations, media channels, and governments.” From 2005 to 2008, Stephan traveled throughout the Brazilian countryside of Bahia, painting murals on adobe houses, chapels and even a cemetery. In the small village of Lençóis, he collaborated with local artisans, and expanded his research into the rich history of Brazilian folklore and syncretism between Christian theology and African spiritual traditions. Visuals from the trip are documented in his 2008 book, Calma: The Art of Stephan Doitschinoff, and are also the subject of a short documentary film, called: Temporal. The book and film will both debut during Novo Mundo.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Stephan Doitschinoff (aka Calma) is a self-taught artist based in Bahia and São Paulo, Brazil. As the son of an Evangelical minister, Stephan spent his entire childhood absorbing the visual vocabulary of religious art. As an artist, he has developed his own unique language and style through imagery which 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.
Check out TEMPORAL, a documentary short film directed by: Bruno Mitih. The 12 minute film made it's US debut on November 22nd, 2008 during NOVO MUNDO, solo exhibition of new works by Stephen Doitschinoff (aka Calma).
ABOUT THE FILM
From 2005—2008, Stephan Doitschinoff traveled throughout the Brazilian countryside of Bahia, painting site-specific murals on adobe houses, chapels, and even a cemetery. In the small village of Lençóis, he collaborated with local artisans, and expanded his research into the rich history of Brazilian folklore and the syncretism between Christian theology and African spiritual traditions.