Paulo Monteiro

Undefined Inclusions

Sep 15 – Oct 28, 2023
New York
Exhibition Details:

Paulo Monteiro
Undefined Inclusions
Sep 15 – Oct 28, 2023


540 West 25th Street
New York


Press Release


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Above: Paulo Monteiro, Untitled/Sem título, 2023 © Paulo Monteiro, courtesy Mendes Wood DM and Pace Gallery

Pace is pleased to present Undefined Inclusions, an exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Paulo Monteiro, at its 540 West 25th Street gallery in New York.

On view from September 15 to October 28, this show is organized in collaboration with Mendes Wood DM.

Born in São Paulo in 1961, Monteiro began painting in 1981, and he cultivated his sculptural practice—which he considers an extension of his painting practice and vice versa—that same decade. Early in his career, Monteiro also cofounded the São Paulo artist collective Casa 7 with Carlito Carvalhosa, Fábio Miguez, Nuno Ramos, and Rodrigo Andrade. This influential group would invigorate Brazilian painting in new ways, bringing a Neo-Expressionist sensibility to their work and, by extension, to the center of the São Paulo art scene at the time. Today, Monteiro continues to live and work in São Paulo.

While his early assemblages were composed entirely of found wood, the artist has incorporated rope, cardboard, aluminum, and clay in his sculptures in more recent years. For Monteiro, the boundaries between painting and sculpture are null and void—tactility, physicality, and materiality, as well as interiority, are central to his work across both mediums. Unique plays of color, shape, line, and texture proliferate across the planes of his paintings and the surfaces of his sculptures, which often bear traces of the artist’s own hand. In Monteiro’s resulting “constellations”— specific arrangements of his paintings and sculptures that give rise to spirited exchanges—negotiations of negative space within and between the works “bring life to something lifeless,” he has said. Movement and repetition are at the heart of much of his work in two- and three-dimensions.

In his upcoming exhibition with Pace in New York, Monteiro will present new oil paintings on linen and wood alongside bronze sculptures he created in 2022 and 2023. The shapes and sizes of the paintings in the show vary widely, with the largest measuring nine-feet-long and some six-feet-tall and the smallest approximately one-inch- wide and tall. As such, these paintings reflect Monteiro’s longstanding interest in the edges, or borders, of the picture plane as well as his distinctive ability to work across monumental and diminutive scales.

In Monteiro’s new abstractions, vibrant oval motifs abound amid layered fields of color. These ovals can be understood as passageways to new colors, tones, and moods embedded in each work. Employing varied brushstrokes and application techniques, he also brings textural nuance to the fore of these compositions.

Bronze sculptures in the show—including both wall-bound and freestanding works—will be situated in conversation with the paintings. Some of these bronzes have been painted, while others bear striking natural patinas. As in his paintings, oval forms can be found within these sculptures, creating a sense of visual continuity among the 50 artworks on view in the exhibition.

In the artist’s words,Undefined Inclusions starts from the question: ‘what is inside things?’ And, since we can only speculate on the nature of the interior of any thing through observation, ‘what are the visible signs of that inside?’ This search eventually led me to develop various plans in which layers overlap and colors that initially appear on the surface become visible through positive or negative three-dimensionality. In this search for the interior, there are no boundaries between paintings, sculptures, or reliefs. Everything ultimately moves from the outside to the inside and vice versa. Thus, the form of things and their external space eventually determine another space, or a distinction between inside and outside, that is purely speculative.”

Concurrent to his presentation with Pace, Monteiro will present works from the same series in a solo exhibition at Arquipélago—Mendes Wood DM's space in Germantown, New York—from September 30 to November 19. In recent years, his work has figured in exhibitions at Pace in Palm Beach; Mendes Wood DM in São Paulo; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo; Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo; Instituto Ling in Porto Alegre, Brazil; MAC Niterói Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro; Hauser & Wirth in Los Angeles; Lévy Gorvy in New York; Tomio Koyama in Tokyo; and other international venues. He has also participated in several editions of the São Paulo Bienal, in 1985, 1994, and 2013. In 2014, the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired a large group of Monteiro’s works—including paintings, sculptures, drawings, and gouaches. He is also represented in the collections of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, and the Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro.


Featured Works

Paulo Monteiro, Untitled/ Sem título, 2023, oil on linen, 21-5/8" × 17-3/4" (54.9 cm × 45.1 cm)
Paulo Monteiro, Untitled/ Sem título, 2023, dark patina on bronze, 33-1/4" × 3" × 4-3/8" (84.5 cm × 7.6 cm × 11.1 cm)
Paulo Monteiro, Untitled/ Sem título, 2023, oil on linen, 78-3/4" × 9' 2-1/4" × 1-1/2" (200 cm × 280 cm × 3.8 cm)
Paulo Monteiro, Untitled/ Sem título, 2022, oil on bronze, 1-3/8" × 1-7/8" × 3/4" (3.5 cm × 4.8 cm × 1.9 cm)
Paulo Monteiro, Untitled/ Sem título, 2023, dark patina on bronze, 29-7/8" × 8-5/8" × 17-7/8" (75.9 cm × 21.9 cm × 45.4 cm)
Paulo Monteiro, Untitled/ Sem título, 2023, oil on linen, 17-3/4" × 21-5/8" × 1-1/8" (45.1 cm × 54.9 cm × 2.9 cm)
Paulo Monteiro, Untitled/ Sem título, 2023, oil on linen, 8-7/8" × 6-1/8" × 1-1/8" (22.5 cm × 15.6 cm × 2.9 cm)
Paulo Monteiro, Untitled/ Sem título, 2022, oil on bronze, 2" × 1-1/4" × 1" (5.1 cm × 3.2 cm × 2.5 cm)

Installation Views


Explore Undefined Inclusions with Paulo Monteiro

In our new film, artist Paulo Monteiro sits down for an interview in his São Paulo studio to discuss his work in painting and sculpture on the occasion of his exhibition Undefined Inclusions. Here, Monteiro speaks about the roles that movement and interiority play in his work, and he shares how he uses color and materiality to explore these subjects across two- and three-dimensional media.


About the Artist

Paulo Monteiro (1961, São Paulo, Brazil) lives and works in São Paulo.

Monteiro began working as an artist in 1977, drawing comic strips in a style influenced by cartoonists such as Robert Crumb and George McManus and the renowned Brazilian caricaturist Luiz Sá. Between 1983 and 1985, he was an integral part of the group Casa 7 alongside Carlito Carvalhosa, Fábio Miguez, Nuno Ramos, and Rodrigo Andrade. Together these artists participated in exhibitions at MAC – São Paulo, MAM-RJ and the 18th São Paulo Biennial in 1985, bringing Neo-Expressionism to the forefront of the São Paulo art scene. In the late 1980s and the early 2000s, Monteiro immersed himself in his sculptural practice. His return to painting over a decade ago brought a new level of consciousness to his work.