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Construção popular

Popular Construction


Bamboo and clay

Essex Collection of Art from Latin America

Construção popular can be thought to resemble a sample of the Brazilian building technique, pau-a-pique. Pau-a-pique is a means of construction that has been used by its original inhabitants and continuesto be used today. It is popular for its sustainability and durability, and it employs materials that are in abundance and essentially free: earth and bamboo. Through this reading, the work can be thought of as a reference to the “popular” in Brazil –a nod to traditional craft. However, the artwork’s form also references the grid, a modernist device fundamental to urban development and abstraction in art. The scholar Rosalind Krauss describes the grid as functioning “to declare the modernity of modern art.’” By recreating the grid with bamboo and clay, the artist infers material

Martha Niklaus

Brazil, 1960

Martha Niklaus is a multimedia artist who works primarily with sculpture and film. Her practice explores borders and binaries, functioning at the intersection of the individual and the collective, the functional and the aesthetic, and the personal and the universal. The artist has exhibited widely, including at the Mercosul Biennial and institutions in Argentina and the USA. She has works in other public collections, including the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and the SESC Paulista in Brazil. Her work is represented by the Essex Collection of Art from Latin America (ESCALA) at the University of Essex.


Live Streams is curated by Lisa Blackmore (School of Philosophy & Art History and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Essex), Diego Chocano (Assistant Curator of Essex Collection of Art from Latin America/University Art Collections) and Emilio Chapela (Artist and Research Assistant at the University of Essex). This website was built by David Medina.

Art Exchange is the University of Essex’s on-campus gallery dedicated to exhibiting contemporary art from emerging and established international artists. It is directed by Jess Twyman.