On Beatriz Milhazes in Venice

Applied Arts Pavilion

Museum Exhibitions

Colour is a way for me to create contrast, drama and mystery. Colour brings balance, harmony, structure. It’s life and nature. It is pure sensibility, poetry, imagination, abstraction, and joy.

Beatriz Milhazes

At the Pavilion of Applied Arts, Beatriz Milhazes presents a new body of work created in collaboration with Adriano Pedrosa, curator of the 60th Biennale di Venezia, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. A varied display of textiles from countries and cultures that influenced Milhazes will be shown alongside the new paintings, works on paper, and a large-scale tapestry. Created specifically for the Pavilion, the show also offers an opportunity for observation and interaction with the architecture and history of Sale d’Armi, Arsenale.


On the V&A’s blog, Christopher Turner details Milhazes’ approach to her Special Project in Venice:

“Milhazes, one of the best-known and most distinguished practitioners of Brazil, is no stranger to Venice having been chosen to represent the country at the 2003 biennale.

For the Pavilion of Applied Arts, Milhazes has made a new series of large-scale, vibrant, abstract paintings inspired by several textiles in the V&A collections. But she set herself a challenging game that she explains initiated a new direction in her work. Taking as her starting point the colour matching and scientific measurement of hues in the V&A book, (opens in a new window) Spectrum: Heritage Patterns and Colours (V&A / Thames & Hudson 2022), she used the exact percentages of colours found in these textiles to constrain her palette and force new structures.

The Golden Egg, for example, takes its strict proportion of colour from one of the V&A’s kimonos, a silk, gold leaf and embroidery jacket with sash (about 1960) that was a diplomatic gift from the emperor of Japan to a member of the British Royal family. Similarly, Meia-noite, meio-dia (Midnight, Midday) takes its inspiration and atmosphere from the colour and geometry of one of the V&A’s cosmologically-themed textiles, a printed cotton handkerchief manufactured in the USA around 1970 with Sputnik-inspired Pop Art patterns.”

(opens in a new window) Read the full V&A blog here

  • Museum Exhibitions — On Beatriz Milhazes in Venice: Applied Arts Pavilion, Jan 1, 2024