Snapshot: Lenora Rosenfield (Brazil, 2002/03)

Oct 06, 2020

Lenora Rosenfield profile

My Synthetic fresco research started when I lived in Florence and saw the Sandro Botticelli Portrait in Filippino Lippi's fresco in the Brancacci Chapel in the San Camine's Church. That experience made me want to make a new fresco technique, but only using synthetic materials


The 'Synthetic fresco' technique

My Synthetic fresco research started when I lived in Florence and saw the Sandro Botticelli Portrait in Filippino Lippi's fresco in the Brancacci Chapel in the San Camine's Church. That experience made me want to make a new fresco technique, but only using synthetic materials. My goal was to keep the old fresco tradition with pigment and water on fresh plaster. I spent five years researching the resistence of the technique in an open environment and it worked. In the first step as an aesthetic direction I painted many portraits inspired by old frescos that had a face looking beyond their time. As you can see Botticelli looking out of the artistic scene. The second step was to paint my own body without movement and In a third step I started to paint my body and its movement after dancing classes.

Botticelli - Synthetic fresco
Botticelli me olhando, Synthetic fresco on board, 30,5 x 25,5 cm (New York, 2002)
Minha própria carne - synthetic fresco
Minha própria carne, Synthetic fresco on non-woven fabric, 145 x 96 cm (New York, 2002)

From this step I moved to the planisphere, because one of the paintings about movement came out a map.

Sobrevoando lll - synthetic fresco
Sobrevoando lll, Synthetic fresco on non-woven fabric, 46 x 45 cm (Porto Alegre, 2012)
Planisfério l - Synthetic fresco
Planisfério l, Synthetic fresco and egg tempera on non-woven fabric, 110 x 220 cm (Porto Alegre, 2015)
Untitled- Synthetic fresco
Untitled, Synthetic fresco on non-woven fabric, 200 x 270 cm (Porto Alegre, 2018)

I describe my work as researching the history, materials, techniques and form of artistic expression that are typical of the fresco. These works are a metaphorical pot of elements that involve art history, the exploration of materials, the translation of new aesthetic intentions and the use of conservation knowledge applied to painting - elements that are integrated in a physical support, the non-woven fabric. This aesthetic set can be compared to ideologies woven into a single physical entity. This multidisciplinary combination forms a grid of influences and aesthetic patterns tied by the unconscious power of multiple influences and by the conscious choices of human attitudes that use the body as a reference, ranging from the images produced by the caveman onwards. Nowadays I am also researching my own itineraries, applying the use of the grid on maps and planispheres, always using the same materials, allowing myself to be challenged by what contemporary painting might be.


International travel and collaboration

I never thought of myself not being an artist. Besides that I think I have a lot of curiosity about other cultures and traveling brought me a lot of information about it. To be exposed to new cultures, human behavior and new aesthetics made me build who I am as an artist. I always like to change from comfortable zones to uncomfortable zones out and inside me. Now I am older the world is different and I think I made changes, but the curiosity is the same.

My Fulbright in New York City was an experience that helped me to be in contact with a great deal of art on an everyday basis, besides being in contact with the artist community from inside and outside the New York University. I thank Professor Edward Sullivan who opened the door for me. I still feel greatly influenced by my stay in New York, spending 13 months researching about art materials and aesthetic concepts that I could use in my research. As an artist I always tried to work beyond my personal limits showing and bringing my work to other communities such as blind people, students and teaching at the University.


On art and new technology

Technology has given accessibilty to many people that would not have any kind of contact with art if it would not exist. The combination of technology and new scientific discoveries opened a new world for people with disabilities of all kinds, children and many others.

Below there is a more scientific explanation by Alberto Semeler, an artist from UFRGS (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul) the same University I used to teach:

"Because technology is giving a sensorial-participatory artistic practices in art, recently by sciences discoveries about the functioning of vision and its interfaces with other sensor areas of the brain. Another very important point of view is that new digital technologies begin to allow the transcoding of stimuli from one sensory area to another. The body enters in the process of transparency and begins to convert into information by non-invasive technologies of imaging. Besides that technology also gives a new time in the arts and for the artist too.

A side effect of using technology in the artistic experience is that a lot of people think they are making art; and actually, while they have a great technology ability, I am not sure if they are artists. They might be artists but with a very different kind of training, as many do not know how to draw with charcoal or pencil, they never made observation drawings, they do not know about the painting traditions; and, while they do know how to use color in the computer, they do not know ho to use it with paint. I am not saying that it's wrong, but it is not a complete artist training.


Lenora Rosenfield was an associate professor until 2017 at the Arts Institute of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. She was an intern at Harvard Art Museum in Cambridge, MA on a Kress Foundation scholarship, worked as a conservator for 30 years, and was visiting professor with a Fulbright scholarship at New York University, during her PhD in Fine Arts. Her doctorate degree was in Visual Art Poetics at USP’s, São Paulo State University, (School of Arts and Communication). Her post-doctorate was at the Università degli Study in Udine, and at the Centro Internazionale di Alti Studi Latino Americani, Italy. She held several exhibitions in Brazil and abroad. Visit Lenora's Vimeo page.

Visit Lenora's website


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