Relief, 2018

Exhibition O Relevo is a translation of works exhibited in a previous Mercosul Biennial editions and provides technological sensorial experience

The exhibition O Relevo, which took place from March 15 to June 2 at the CEEE Érico Veríssimo Cultural Center, showed the relief translations of art works that were presented throughout the 10th Mercosul Biennial edition.

Developed with an unprecedented technique of synthetic fresco, created by the artist herself, the works were interpreted in the same dimensions and colors as the originals, so that they could be understood and experienced by the visually impaired people through the touch. Sighted visitors also took advantage of the sensations through an environment with low light, in order to level the perception of everyone in the exhibition.

The technological experience was provided through a glove, created in a partnership between the artist and the company ThoughtWorks Creative Technology Consultants, developed with the LilyPad and Arduino platforms, suitable for the application of plates and chips on fabrics and clothing. Wearable prototyping serveing for the concept of Assistive Technology, which promotes assistance in improving the quality of life of people with some type of visual limitation. With it, visitors were able to see Lenora's work through their fingertips.

In the artist opinion, this opportunity democratize art is a special task. "Since 2015, when I had the opportunity to receive a group of visually impaired people at an exhibition at the Blumenau Art Museum (MAB / SC), I have been encouraging the public to touch my works, whether they are visionaries or visually impaired. In this moment, the sensorial experience happened to everyone, but backwards: those who saw were out of their comfort zone! My desire comes with this goal, minimize borders, to unite differences for personal growth of the public in general", she defines.

Among the 12 featured works, 10 translations and two by her own were part of the exhibition "Negra" by Tarsila do Amaral (Brazil), "Composición V", by Maria Freire (Uruguay), "B.iB portrait # 8", by Kimani Beckford (Jamaica), “Composition”, by Fernand Léger (France) and “Bomba”, by Renzo Assano and Laila Terra (Brazil). Lenora's authorial pieces showed the continents, representing the link that connects all the works created by different artists and places of the world.

In addition to ThoughtWorks, the Fundação Bienal Mercosul supported the initiative.

Professor Dr Gilberto Schwartsmann


When I read that the talented plastic artist Lenora Rosenfield had created a visual arts exhibition for the visually impaired, with the support of the Blumenau Cultural Foundation and the Association for the Blind of the Itajaí Valley in Santa Catarina, I found the idea fascinating.
Visual arts for the visually impaired! Nothing could be more inclusive. I was even more moved after reading the testimony of a visually impaired individual who had visited the exhibition. He said he had never imagined he could one day "appreciate the beauty of a work of art with his fingertips."
After this unique experience provided by Lenora, we decided to challenge her to select some representative works of the history of the Mercosul Biennials and produce this exhibition especially directed to the visually impaired, titled The Relief.
But the artist went further. With the help of a group of researchers, she created an instrument that, by using the vibrating sensitivity of the fingers, enables the visually impaired to add color information to the tactile reading.
Of course, the subject raises discussions. There are those who say, for example, that the aesthetic experience caused by a work of art is unique and any attempt to translate it into another language would de-characterize it.
The truth is that Lenora provides us with an exhibit that can be enjoyed by those who have always lived on the margins of the visual arts and who will now "see" works of art through the sensitivity of their own fingers.
More than this, the exhibit will allow people who see, like most of us, to enjoy the art show with their own eyes and, at the same time, to carry out the old fantasy of being able to slide their fingers on the canvas, to feel their texture.
If, for some, "translating” a work of art is to de-characterize it, following the same concept, the "translations" of the artist, after all, offer us a precious collection of original works. The Relief is an art show to see and touch.


Lenora Rosenfield


The exhibition The Relief aims to provide the visually impaired access to the arts through tact, and to allow seers (people who see) to have the same experience as the visually impaired do.
The exhibition is composed by the translation of ten works of artists who have participated in previous editions of the Mercosul Biennial, along with a work of mine, in a dialogue among the various continental and visual worlds that are coasted by the Atlantic Ocean. Nine of them are arranged between two maps of my own and one is on the first level of the exhibition hall, A Negra, by Tarsila do Amaral.
The works presented are not appropriations nor re-readings, but translations made with materials different from the one or ones used by the original artist, made with the synthetic fresco technique, the result of a research that I developed many years ago, and that allows the perception of a work of art by the visually impaired.
The works presented are not appropriations nor re-readings, but translations made with materials different from the one or ones used by the original artist, made with the synthetic fresco technique, the result of a research that I developed many years ago, and that allows the perception of a work of art by the visually impaired.
In addition to the tactile possibility, the public will be able to explore the work by means of technology, that is, by wearing gloves with sensors of sounds and vibrations, capable to interpret the color on the surface of the works. This comes from a valuable partnership with ThoughtWorks Creative Technology Consultants company.
The maps I have created for this exhibition show the continents, represented in a closer scale, and the link that unites them are the works of artists from different countries. This connection occurred firstly because of the physical proximity, the Pangea period, when all tectonic plates were glued together, as well as by the natural phenomena that have been transforming the planet Earth into several continents and by the influences that have been established over millennia of immigration.
The continents are presented in the complementary colors green-red and purple-yellow, considered opposite colors in the chromatic circle; however, when placed side by side, one potentiates the color of the other, confirming the objective of this exhibition, where the visually impaired and the seers are not contrasted but potentiated by each other in the exhibition space. Potency that should, more and more, govern human relations.