* 1972, Lisbon
Engaging with the histories of 20th century architecture, design and art, the work of Leonor Antunes reflects on the functions of everyday objects, contemplating the potential of Modernist forms to be materialized as sculptures. Antunes investigates the coded values and invisible flow of ideas embedded within objects, transforming them into reimagined abstract structures. Integrating materials such as rope, wood, leather and brass, Antunes silently rattles at the aesthetic traces of Modernism to foresee an altogether revived, rethought way of looking forward by looking back. Borrowing from vernacular traditions of craftsmanship from locations such as South America, Mexico and Portugal, Antunes seeks to understand the construction principles behind rational designs, as well as the process of abstracting reality through its reduction to geometry. The grid, present in most of the art works, objects and buildings she references, finds itself transformed into brass nets, interlaced and knotted strings, leather straps and bands of cotton threads hand-woven on looms. Her source of inspiration is provided mostly by the practice of female artists ‒ not only through their radical social and political stances, but also in their practical aspiration to improve people’s everyday lives through art and design.
Her most important exhibitions include: the frisson of togetherness, Whitechapel Gallery, London, United Kingdom (2017); a spiral staircase leads down the garden, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), San Francisco, United States (2016); the pliable plane, CAPC Musée d’Árt Contemporain de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France (2015); Leonor Antunes: I stand like a mirror before you, New Museum, New York, United States (2015); the last days in Chimalistac, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (2013); RAUMPLAN, Gallery Luisa Strina, São Paulo, Brazil (2013); villa, how to use, Museu de Serralves, Porto, Portugal (2011); discrepancies with M.G., Museo El Eco, Mexico City, Mexico (2011); the space of the window, Air de Paris, Paris, France (2007); your private sky, Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie, Berlin, Germany.
Furthermore, her work has been included in the following biennials: 57th International Art Exhibition la Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2017); Sharjah Biennial 12, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2015); Triennale Kleinplastik Fellbach 2013, Fellbach, Germany; 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2014); 3rd Singapore Biennale, Singapore (2011); Bienal de Maia, Maia, Portugal (1999).
Leonor Antunes currently lives and works in Berlin, Germany.