By Natalie Tate
Brazilian artist Claudia De Grandi has lived and worked in the Hastings area since 2006. While, initially having been reluctant to be seen even as a peripheral presence on the local scene, where she has yet to exhibit, she has meanwhile, almost reclusively, developed a powerful series of paintings and internationally recognized performance works.
While painting the sonorous, large scale abstract canvasses which form the basis of her artistic output, Claudia also refers to music as the inspiration for her art.
A classical scholar, she studied the piano at the São Paulo conservatoire where she first realized music could be an abstraction. She carried these ideas with her when she studied fine art at the University of Greenwich, and gained her Masters in Transnational Art at the University of the Arts London. This period galvanized her ideas about the study of culture from the post-colonial world to its development in the globalised world.
As her works garner a quiet yet sustained critical approval Claudia has begun to be more revealing in discussing her practice. In an article written for Kritika, the Milanese Art Journal, Judy Parkinson describes Claudia De Grandi’s work as ‘…a distillation of meticulous study and controlled thought inspired by music and meditation. The canvases Claudia calls ‘moving mediations’ are to her, private moments of performance art, acts of body and spirit. When she’s ready Claudia might issue an invitation to view her large paintings – active contemplations on abstraction and transparency, expressions of the air we breathe and the nature of transmission through space and time.’
Meanwhile, outside of the private world of her Hastings studio, where the contrast of industrial and rural landscape collides and inspires her work, Claudia’s art has an alter ego. In collaboration with New York-Berlin based musician Joshua Tennent, their project Visual Sounds already featured in high profile venues such as Tokyo, London and Berlin. Claudia and Joshua creates live performances where music and painting reveals a space of simultaneity, sound-light-movement. This experimental initiative comes from the strong intuitive impulse of the artists to generate a dynamic and transformative “happening” where the viewer is drawn into a greater participation of living art.