Sandra Cinto: Melody to the Stars: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York

April 2 - May 7, 2022
Installation Views
Press release

Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is pleased to present Melody to the Stars, Sandra Cinto’s ninth exhibition with the gallery, on view in New York through May 7, 2022. 


Since the early 1990s, Sandra Cinto has explored the potential of drawing to create intricate images and immersive environments, often using the line as a gesture to deconstruct the physical and conceptual boundaries between painting, sculpture, photography and installation. Delicate and repeated motifs - stars, waves, cliffs, bridges, and swings, among them - comprise a rich vocabulary of symbols and lines that construct lyrical landscapes, hovering gently between fantasy and reality. Armed with little more than a very fine brush, the artist renders mesmerizing seascapes, rainstorms, and celestial skies to create seemingly weightless, immersive environments. In all her work, Cinto conjures great tensions and contradictions: formally, between surface and depth, abstraction and representation, but also thematically, between joy and sadness, fear and comfort, innocence and guilt. Pushing the limits and possibilities of drawing, Cinto's pictographic motifs build into complex narratives, evoking stories of human hardship and redemption and serving as a metaphor for the human odyssey. 

Eight new paintings are on view in the main gallery, inviting the viewer on a journey across the night sky. Conceived as a single cohesive installation of works, these nocturnal landscapes feature no single or defined horizon line, but rather offer a complex play of depth through varying layers of blue tones and the finely detailed motifs. The paintings provide a surface of intricate images and details where the gaze can literally float, giving the viewer an opportunity to meditate upon the poetic immensity of space, and the infinite depth of the cosmos. Spaced evenly around the gallery, the paintings maintain a strong sense of interconnectivity, together and yet apart, a community of individuals. 


The main gallery upstairs features two yellow geometric paintings whose tone, patterns and intense hue are intended to represent the Sun, the center of energy and power in our universe. As the exhibition coincides with the spring equinox, the bright canvases are created in dialogue with the natural light and are meant to evoke the feelings of renewal and optimism that accompany the arrival of spring. The geometric patterns recall quilting and patchwork, traditionally thought of as women’s crafts that are made with affection and warmth. On the opposite walls hang painted wooden books covered with drawings of celestial skies and oceans. This surreal gesture of drawing on sculpture deconstructs the object-ness of the books, rendering them as ephemeral as artifacts from a dream. Together, the works create a representation of the cosmic energy of the universe and a poetic reflection on the passage of time. 


In the smaller gallery upstairs, Cinto has created an interactive work that is an homage to drawing and to the artist’s studio. The room contains a drawing table, a violin, and a cabinet, filled with an accordion notebook, with pages that connect on either end to resemble the instrument. Visitors are encouraged to sit at the table and compose a melody on paper, which can either be kept or sent to someone, emphasizing how drawing and music serve as powerful forms of connection. 


Born in 1968 in Santo Andre, Brazil, Cinto currently lives and works in São Paulo. She studied art at the Faculdades Integradas Teresa D’Ávila, Santo André, Brazil, and later received fellowships from Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2000–01) and Civitella Ranieri Foundation (2005).


For nearly 30 years, Sandra Cinto has presented her work at museums and institutions worldwide including important solo exhibitions at Fondation Hermès, Tokyo (2020); Instituto Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, curated by Paulo Herkenhoff (2020); the Dallas Museum of Art (2019-2020); Contemporary Art Center Cincinnati (2017); USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa, Florida (2015); the CAAM Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno in Madrid, Spain (2014); Instituto Tomie Ohtake in São Paulo (2010); MACUF Museum of Contemporary Art Union Fenosa in La Coruña, Spain (2007); Wall Project at São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (2003); and Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte (2003).


Among her many public projects and commissions worldwide, her most notable include The Wishes Boulevard, 2021 Thailand Biennial, curated by Yuko Hasegawa, Korat, Thailand (2021 - permanent); The Rooftop of the Rosewood Hotel, São Paulo (2021 - permanent); Water Movement, Itaúsa Bank, São Paulo (2020 - permanent); Open Seascape at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York (2019 - permanent); Untitled for Murals of La Jolla (2018 - ongoing); The Invisible Telescope at USF Kate Tiedemann College of Business (2018 - permanent); Library of Love at the Contemporary Art Center Cincinnati (2017 - ongoing); The Great Sun, P.S. 56 (2016 - permanent); One Day, After the Rain, commissioned by The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. (2012-2013); Encounter of Waters at Seattle Art Museum’s Olympic Park Pavilion (2012-2014); A Casa das Fontes (The House of Fountains), an installation conceived for Casa do Sertanista in Sao Paulo (2013); When The Night Comes Into My Room, an outdoor public commission for Obra Viva/Esculturas Públicas (Living Work/Public Sculptures) at Parque Ecológico Municipal Estoril–Virgilio Simionatto in São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil (2012); and Japonism, a public commission for the SESC swimming pool in Santo André, Brazil (2011).




All installation images above: Photo by Pierre Le Hors