Portal Do Sul. South Gate by Pasha Radetzki

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Portal Do Sul. South Gate by Pasha Radetzki

s/n Pinga Rio Valley
Sao Luis Do Paraitinga
Sao Paulo
May 17th, 2011 - May 17th, 2014
Opening: June 17th, 2011 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

new york opium school
photography, mixed-media, installation, conceptual, landscape, sculpture


Pasha Radetzki

Portal Do Sul. South Gate

Landscape art installation at Fazenda Catuçaba, São Paulo, Brazil.  March 3rd, 2011 - temporal.

Fazenda Catuçaba is pleased to present Portal Do Sul. South Gate, a landscape art installation by New York artist Pasha Radetzki also known as Pasha RA. The installation opened to the public on March 3rd, 2011. 

The opening reception will take place in June, the artist will be present.

Portal Do Sul is an architectural-sculptural work comprised of ten related wooden structures

installed over 300 hectares of mountainous terrain on Fazenda's property, in the vicinity of São Luiz do Paraitinga. Fazenda Catuçaba commissioned this work to inaugurate its Art Residency initiative established the year before.

Text from the artist

Portal Do Sul continues my ongoing investigation of how we perceive, construct and share the common architectural spaces be it a house, a room, a corridor, or a gate leading to the house.  Our decisions in how we arrange various spatial elements in architecture impacts, often subtly and irreversibly, our daily lives.

Coming to work on the Portal Do Sul installation in such a spectacular natural setting made me very aware of the potential impact that my large sculptures could have on the land, people, and animals over the next couple of years.

First, I thought, what is possible? The winds and the rains can be strong and the hills are steep to climb, even for a powerful tractor. Working with local chainsaw specialists (muito obrigado Alan and Marcus!) we laid the foundation for Portal Do Sul installation by reclaiming 90 % of the necessary timber with virtually no waste. The elements determined the scale and overall structural signature of each comprising sculpture so that the winds can blow through it and the bulls can graze around it. 

Surrounded by miles and miles of mountainous vistas, I conceived the works to give the sensation of visual vertigo, and at the same time defining, capturing this perfect state, rarely acknowledged, between the inhale and the exhale. As if saying: "Yes, we are here, it is beautiful all around, and we have our houses, guarding gates and yet, our lives are like a split second in a larger sense of time.. we come and go through these houses, like the clouds, come and go.."

To bring all these aspirations and associations down onto the ground and to an actual sculptural fruition I conceived a series of ten free standing open large scale gates, doors, and walls.  As a very prominent element in local countryside architecture (almost every house in the vicinity has a gate leading to it) I envisioned my open gates as metaphors for the opening and defining of new social and economical opportunities that Brazil can develop as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. 

Portal Do Sul. South Gate, Red Hot. Bulls Way. Open (Crooked) Gate was the first gate structure we installed.

I positioned it on the south-north axis with the magenta red side facing the south and the light pink side facing the north to emphasize that the red hot south side is well ripe to impact the north. Structurally, the gate looks like it has been opened by sliding to the west, conjoining the movement of the sun and the general inclination of the Pinga Rio Valley from east to the west. I think of this gate as the first opening, welcoming the southern winds, catching them and spreading them across the valley. Additionally, South Gate is positioned on the fazenda's cattle's main highway to the watering hole below in the sub-valley. The animals designated the site for me by their use and I left an opening of 80 cm in the middle of the structure so that they can pass through one by one.

The valley spirit is alive:

The mystic female.

Her gateway is

The base of earth and heaven.

Here, I paraphrased verse #6 from The Way by Lao Tzu and playfully employed its content in the title of the next sculpture - Gateway Of The Valley. Androgynous Mistic Female. This work is installed on the east-west axis about 100 meters from the Bulls Way structure. I intended them to relate as two soccer field gates installed at 90 degrees angle to each other, so that their projected passageways would criss-cross and meet in an imagined shared territory rather then confront each other.  If Bulls Way is the southern opening, the Gateway Of The Valley is the opening for the valley from east to west. I camouflaged the eastern side of the Gateway in the misty green color of the valley to integrate the sculpture into the environment. The western side is painted fiery orange related to and facing the setting sun.

Chronologically, after we installed the first two sculptures at the site's lower elevation, our team moved up to work on a composition of three interrelated sculptures, which came to be the largest works positioned on three hills  at the summit of 1350 meters above the sea level. 

Casa Paineira. My Front Doors. Flat Open House. ∏A House serves as the centerpiece for the ensemble and leads into the conceptual framework inherent in two other sculptures: Snaky. Cobra. My Back Doors and Handle Carousel. Carnival. My Middle Doors.  

Casa Paineira sculpture was inspired by the actual house I lived in for the four months while working on Portal Do Sul. This house is called Fazenda Paineira or Casa Repreza. It is built in the traditional pau e pique style and is located about 3 km south from my sculptures across the valley. I adopted the visual elements of the façade of the house, a white-washed wall with a deep blue front door in the middle, and rebuilt this wall up in the hills as a freestanding open structure resembling the original façade but with certain visual and conceptual innovations. In my work, the wall, the door, and the door frame comprise a single architectural element. The door visually appears to be unfolding or folding in on itself. The essential structural beam of the doorframe is missing allowing a seamless linear continuation of the space drawn in heavy timber. Snaky depicts two unfolding large doors whith their imaginary yet visually defined spatial planes extending into the landscape following the snake's serpentine pattern in cut timber. And the Handle Carousel sculpture unfolds in three doors as if revolving in place.

The remaining five works in Portal Do Sul similarly engage aspects of the natural environment as integral parts of their conception but each in its own individual way. 

Sul Sol. South Sun. Fire Site (for the performance) adopts the spiky forms of the striking agave plants growing nearby on the hillsides, the Ventu with Torn Air refers to the winds of the valley, and Olho Mágico. Pico Do Diamante traces the sun's daily travels.

The final piece in the installation is IT : IT : This is the largest free standing structure measuring 3 m by 6 m., painted in two colors. The eastern side is a lighter green related to the faded color of the winter grass and the western side is a deeper green as the grass turns deeper and brighter in the summer. IT : IT : is a sculptural palindrome that embodies my fascination with how language can express reality depending on your approach, whether it is poetic, philosophical, or otherwise. IT : IT : is self-referential: the trees turned into timber, painted into the language to tell us that this is IT.