In urban chaos there is beauty. Mass-produced industrial items can document progress and a simple object can evoke a beloved place. These three sentiments have never been more clearly stated than in the Escultura screen by Fernando and Humberto Campana. Created in 1993, the Campana brothers sought to reflect the magical beauty and drama they saw in the urban Brazilian landscape. As television became a mainstay in many homes, antennas became a prevalent feature of rooftops Until recently, in São Paolo, everyone had TV antennae in the living rooms and on their roofs. Now they are all supplied by cable. We made the antenna screen in the 90s when São Paolo was covered by such antennae.
– Humberto Campanathroughout São Paolo. Highly sculptural, and deeply spiritual, this screen is a testament to the brothers’ adoration of their home. The screen consists purely of television antennas connected with hand-wrapped wire in seductive simplicity. “We were working with lines in space, floating” stated Humberto in regards to this series. The Campanas embraced this non-traditional material and reimagined it as a foundation to create a vibrant screen, both evocative in form and socially conscientious. Although hard-edged and jagged, the chrome-plated surfaces shimmer in the raking light imbuing the screen with a hint of softness. Contrast is paramount in this evocative work and in the favelas it celebrates.
This important screen design was included in the groundbreaking 1999 exhibition entitled Project 66: Campana/Ingo Maurer curated by Paola Antontelli at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The exhibition introduced the worldwide audience to the designs of Fernando and Humberto Campana alongside the inventive lighting of Ingo Maurer. In discussing the exhibition, Antonelli noted “the juxtaposition of their work in this installation provides a unique statement about both the universality and peculiarity of contemporary design”. As a centerpiece, the Escultura screen epitomized those divergences.
An example of the Escultura screen is in the permanent collection of the Carnegie Museum of Art and was recently included in the Antibodies, a retrospective exhibition of the Campanas work at the Vitra Museum in 2009.
We try to reinvent existing materials and make a portrait of what we see in our environment.