Sallisa Rosa’s Topography Of Memory
The Pinacoteca de São Paulo will present Topography of Memory from 16 March to 28 July 2024. Commissioned by Audemars Piguet Contemporary in 2023 and guest curated by Thiago de Paula Souza, the monumental installation is the artist’s largest all-ceramic work to date.

Sallisa Rosa’s Topography Of Memory — An Immersive Large-Scale Ceramic Installation — Travels To Pinacoteca De São Paulo

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Artist Sallisa Rosa’s large-scale, ceramic installation titled Topography of Memory will be on view at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo from 16 March to 28 July 2024, marking the first time Audemars Piguet Contemporary will exhibit a commission in Brazil. Before traveling to São Paulo, the commission premiered in December 2023 at the Collins Park Rotunda in Miami, coinciding with Art Basel Miami Beach, marking the artist’s first solo presentation in the United States. The exhibition of Topography of Memory at the Pinacoteca will notably be on view during SP-Arte from 3 -7 April 2024.

/	Installation view of Topography of Memory, December 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet
/ Installation view of Topography of Memory, December 2023. Courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet

Topography of Memory is comprised of over 100 hand-made ceramic forms assembled from collected clay, creating an environment for visitors to explore. The work has been commissioned by Audemars Piguet Contemporary, with the brand’s in-house curatorial team working closely with guest curator Thiago de Paula Souza to support Rosa’s vision and the creation of the commission.

Sallisa Rosa’s Topography Of Memory

With Topography of Memory, Sallisa Rosa (b. 1986, Goiânia, Brazil) has created an immersive landscape that invites mediation and a physical encounter by the viewer. Referencing the fluctuations of our natural surroundings, the modular artwork will evolve from its first iteration in Miami to activate the unique space in the museum’s recently opened wing dedicated to contemporary art, the Pina Contemporânea. Installed in a gallery with large windows, the space will incorporate natural light and views of the surrounding landscape that will directly link the ceramics to the land and elements they were made from. The sculptures on the floor are in the shape of stalagmites and resemble a cave, while the sculptures hanging from the ceiling are spherical, with their display recalling a planetarium, symbolically embracing the underground world and the infinite cosmos.

Composed of collected clay sourced by hand from Rio de Janeiro’s surrounding area, each sculpture was fired in an 800 degrees Celsius kiln housed in an underground pit, thereby offering a precise materiality that connects directly with the earth. Rosa’s process invites visitors to reconsider their relationship to memory and land, and to the environment as a site of culture and of identities.

With this commission, Rosa aims to explore our collective ways of remembering, drawing a connection between the erosion of the earth and the erosion of memory. Her use of collected clay, in recognition of traditional practices, is important to the commission as she believes ceramics have a symbolic capacity to store memory which can help us to remember.

Rosa, like many Brazilians of her generation, faces questions and confusion in trying to piece together her own ancestry. The fading memory of her grandmother, a core figure in bringing together the threads that make up her fragmented family history, is one of the main inspirations for Topography of Memory. 

In her artistic practice, Rosa works across photography, video, performance, and installations. Her work explores the human connection to the earth. She is interested in collaborating with communities, which echoes Audemars Piguet’s belief that culture connects people, building understanding within and between individuals. She frequently uses collected clay as a material with a unique connection to the earth, land, and territory. Previously working in Rio de Janeiro, Rosa recently relocated to Amsterdam to attend the Rijksakademie artist residency.

Audemars Piguet Contemporary worked closely alongside independent curator Thiago de Paula Souza in the realisation of Topography of Memory, supporting Rosa in this evolution of her artistic practice. De Paula Souza, who is originally from São Paulo and is currently based in Gothenburg, has curated numerous international exhibitions, and brings extensive knowledge of Brazil’s contemporary art landscape. His collaboration with Audemars Piguet Contemporary on Rosa’s commission highlights the programme’s ongoing mission to support artists at various stages of their career in research, expertise, and artistic production, encouraging dialogue with global audiences.

“Bringing Topography of Memory to the Pinacoteca holds a special significance for me. It is almost as if the work is returning home. The earth is the place of memory, and this installation explores relationships and connections to land, territory, and memory – important topics for communities in Brazil. My intention is for people to move through the work to activate collective memory.”

Sallisa Rosa

“In Topography of Memory, Rosa builds upon the notion of “memory programming” in which each of the sculptures is a unique expression of Rosa’s memories. Within the installation at the Pinacoteca, visitors will discover their own pathways and interactions between the stories engraved in the ceramic objects and the memories embedded in each grain of soil.”

Thiago de Paula Souza
Guest Curator
Sallisa Rosa’s Topography Of Memory

“It’s a pleasure for Audemars Piguet Contemporary to support the continued journey of Topography of Memory to be experienced by the cultural community in São Paulo. Topography of Memory is both an ambitious development in Sallisa’s practice—her largest all-ceramic installation to date—and marks a milestone for Audemars Piguet Contemporary as our first commissioned work to be presented in Brazil. The way Sallisa explores the concept of memory through ceramics is also interesting for us at Audemars Piguet; it connects to the way our watchmakers infuse memory in our watches.”

Denis Pernet
Art Curator, Audemars Piguet Contemporary

We’re honoured to be presenting Sallisa Rosa’s Topography of Memory here at the Pinacoteca as an institution dedicated to the work of modern and contemporary Brazilian artists. We have followed Sallisa’s practice for several years, as she has carved out a unique place for herself among the brilliant contemporary artists working in Brazil today. We’re excited to share this landscape and encounter memory with our audiences here in São Paulo and from around the world.

Jochen Volz
General Director, Pinacoteca de São Paulo

About Sallisa Rosa

Sallisa Rosa (b. 1986, Goiânia, Brazil) lives and works in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She is currently based in Amsterdam attending the Rijksakademie artist residency. She had her first solo exhibition at Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro in 2021. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at SNAP, Shanghai (2023); Visual Arts Center, Texas (2022); Théâtre de L’Usine, Geneva (2022); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2021); Paço das Artes, São Paulo (2021); Frestas – Trienal de Artes, Sorocaba (2020/21); Anya and Andrew Shiva Gallery, New York (2020); Museu de Arte do Rio, Rio de Janeiro (2020, 2017); Museu de Arte de São Paulo (2022, 2020, 2019); Banco do Brasil Centro Cultural, Rio de Janeiro (2019); and Barro de Caruaru Bienal (2019); among others. Rosa was nominated for the PIPA prize (2022, 2020) and is a recipient of the Prince Claus Fund Seed Award (2021).

About Thiago de Paula Souza

Thiago de Paula Souza is a curator and educator interested in stretching and re-elaborating the exhibition format as well as in contemporary art and education’s ability to rethink the past and produce new ethical codes. His practice intersects different configurations of knowledge and power that enable contradictions building infrastructures to imagine a world where violence is no longer its foundation. In 2022, he co-curated While we are embattled, at Para Site, HK and Atos de revolta (Acts of revolt), at MAM Rio. Between 2020 and 2021, he was part of the curatorial team of the 3rd edition of Frestas—Triennial of Arts, São Paulo organised by Sesc SP. In 2018/2019 he was a fellow at the Post-academic Program at BAK in Utrecht, where he also curated Tony Cokes first solo exhibition in the country. He was a member of the curatorial team of We don’t need another hero – 10th Berlin Biennale (2018) and more recently was a curatorial advisor for the 58th Carnegie International (2021/2022). He is currently a PhD researcher at HDK-Valand at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and co-curator of Vleeshal – Center for Contemporary Art’s Nomadic program.

About the Pinacoteca de São Paulo

The Pinacoteca de São Paulo is a visual arts museum with an emphasis on Brazilian production from the 19th century to contemporary times and in dialogue with the cultures of the world. The oldest art museum in the city, founded in 1905 by the Government of the State of São Paulo, has been holding shows of its renowned collection of Brazilian art and temporary exhibitions of national and international artists. Pinacoteca also prepares and presents multidisciplinary public projects, in addition to hosting a comprehensive and inclusive educational programme, with programming in the museum’s three buildings: Pina Luz, Pina Estação and Pina Contemporânea. –

About Audemars Piguet Contemporary

Audemars Piguet believes that creativity feeds culture, connects people and gives purpose to our lives.

Audemars Piguet Contemporary, the brand’s dedicated art programme, embodies this spirit by commissioning international artists to create contemporary artworks. The resulting artworks belong to the artists and contribute to their body of work. With the support of two in-house curators, new commissions are realised across a variety of scales and media, enabling artists to explore new territories in their practice. The team follows each carte blanche commission process from inception to exhibition. The nomadic programme fosters collaborations with cultural institutions around the world to present commissions to global audiences.

Each Audemars Piguet Contemporary commissioned artwork is as an opportunity for new creation, bringing together audiences and broadening horizons, as well as leading to a better understanding within and between individuals.

Since 2012, Audemars Piguet Contemporary has commissioned over 20 international artists including Andreas Angelidakis, Meriem Bennani, Aleksandra Domanović, Cao Fei, Petrit Halilaj & Álvaro Urbano, Ryoji Ikeda, Yu Ji, Alexandra Pirici, Sallisa Rosa, Tomás Saraceno, Jana Winderen and Sun Xun. Commissioned artworks have been presented worldwide at major venues spanning Asia (Art Basel, Hong Kong; UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing), Europe (180 The Strand, London; Ars Electronica, Linz; Art Basel, Basel; Espace Niemeyer, Paris; House of Electronic Arts, Basel; the International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Venice; Ocean Space, Venice; Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; MAXXI, Rome; Palais de Tokyo, Paris), and the Americas (Art Basel, Miami; the High Line, New York; Times Square Arts, New York). –

About Audemars Piguet

Audemars Piguet is the oldest fine watchmaking manufacturer still in the hands of its founding families (Audemars and Piguet). Based in Le Brassus since 1875, the company has nurtured generations of talented craftspeople who have continuously developed new skills and techniques, broadening their savoir-faire to set rule-breaking trends. In the Vallée de Joux, at the heart of the Swiss Jura, Audemars Piguet has created numerous masterpieces, testament to the Manufacture’s ancestral savoir-faire and forward-thinking spirit. By pushing the boundaries of what is possible and building bridges between different creative worlds, Audemars Piguet has been able to explore new horizons and build an inspired community. Seek Beyond. –

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