b. 1973, Buenos Aires
Carla Zaccagnini was born in 1973 in Buenos Aires. In 1981 her family relocated to Brazil, where she continues to live and work. Zaccagnini received her BFA in 1995 from the Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado in São Paulo. While there, she studied with artist Nelson Leirner, who encouraged her exploration of theoretical questions through artistic practice. Zaccagnini also received an MA in Visual Poetics from the Universidade de São Paulo in 2004.
Zaccagnini views her activities as an artist, curator, and critic as mutually constitutive forms of inquiry that overlap to form a conceptually driven holistic art practice. She works with a variety of media and techniques—from drawing, installation, performance, text, and video, to exhibition curating—in order to explore what she characterizes as a strategy of displacement. By recontextualizing existing objects, and ideas, Zaccagnini’s work prompts viewers to question the limitations of language and representation, the fallibility of perception, and the construction of knowledge.
For On Equality and Differences II: The House Next Door (Sobre la igualdad y las diferencias II: casas gemelas, 2006), Zaccagnini enlisted a pair of archaeologists to collect and classify objects from neighboring abandoned homes in Assende, Belgium, organizing their findings into familiar typologies (which the participants decided should be determined by the items’ function). The objects are displayed in an elaborate piece of furniture, designed by Leonardo Padilha, which highlights divergent patterns of domesticity that belie the objects’ outward sameness. Another project from the same series, On Equality and Differences: Twin Houses (2005), juxtaposes photographs of houses in Havana that share an original design and infrastructure, but which evolved over time according to the idiosyncrasies of various residents. A playful, poetic quality underlies many of Zaccagnini’s displacements, which are also subtle transformations of the everyday. In Letters (Correspondência, 2007– ), for example, she folded beer labels to form new words and meanings.
Zaccagnini was assistant curator at the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo from 2001 to 2002, and director of the curatorial department at Centro Cultural São Paulo in 2008. She has had solo exhibitions at the Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, Brazil (2002); Museu Victor Meirelles, Florianópolis, Brazil (2005); Ersta Konstall, Stockholm (2007); Museu de Arte Moderna Aloisio Magalhães, Recife (2008); Art Gallery of York University, Toronto (2008); Solo Projects ARCOmadrid, Madrid (2010); and ZONA Maco Sur, Mexico City (2011). She has participated in group exhibitions at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (1999); Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo (2001, 2008, 2009, and 2013); Centro de Arte Wifredo Lam, Havana (2002); Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (2004); Cisneros Fontanals Art Foundation, Miami (2006); Fundación Jumex, Mexico City (2010); and Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro (2011). She has taken part in the São Paulo Biennal (2008); Trienale Poli/Gráfica de San Juan (2012); and the Lisbon Architecture Triennial (2013). She has completed residencies at Capacete (2010), the Festival Internacional de Arte Contemporânea SESC_Videobrasil (2011), and Künsterhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2013–14). Zaccagnini lives and works in São Paulo.