Gilberto Genesini – the last pupil

The São Paulo based architect Gilberto Genesini (1961) met Zélia in 1996, when the then associate Pedro Rosa (director and producer of this site) started interviews about Zélia Salgado. She gave him counsel on his first sculpture attempts (Fish, Brahma Reciclarte Exhibition, Rio, 1996), and ended up giving him theoretical and practical classes at her home workshop, a flat designed by her ENBA colleague, architect Lúcio Costa of Brasília fame. Alternating meddling on her vast library and her own sculpture analysis, Zélia taught him the basics of sculpture; “you already think in three dimensions”, she quoted. Confidence was mutual and he aspiring sculptor was responsible for the setup of her comeback exhibition Abstract Aspirations in 2002, together with the Rio State Women’s Rights Council – CEDIM Cultural Space director, Simone Simões. “I have no “but” to say” stressed the 98-year old artist, when first visiting the exhibition. Gilberto had reproduced her personal workshop as it was in 1994, time of her last paintings.

Having interest in recycled materials, Gilberto chose molten aluminum from automobile pistons to forge his abstract works, following the teachings of Zélia Salgado “but still far from the delicacy of her bronze works”, he says. On them we find textures of Nature (Coral, the Burning Forest series, both of 2011), but also movement and especially form and balance – comprehending the lessons of Brazil’s abstract sculpture pioneer.

In this link, Gilberto Genesini talks about his learning with Zélia Salgado; the interview with engraver Fayga Ostrower, Zélia’s great friend’; the Abstract Aspirations exhibition setup and the homage to the artist’s 100 years at the MNBA, in 2004.


Coral, Recycled aluminum, 2011