My cart (0)

Repaint History Call For Art Fund Recipient: Sandra Lapage

Repaint History Call For Art Fund Recipient: Sandra Lapage

“Impurity, error, failure, excessiveness, organic accumulation.”
Presented as shamanic practice, sourced from knowledge and a state of trance, Lapage produces striking sculptures from discarded materials and unused elements, creating a poignant narrative around environmental and behavioural issues in the 21st century.
“I scream through my work…”
‘Moving blindly through materiality’, Lapage’s practice has been largely inspired by her dual cultural background, both Brazilian and Belgian. The vibrancy of her current address in Sao Paulo, is contrasted harshly to poverty, decay and political and economical consequences. 
Her work explores primal forms, timeless myths and ceremonial objects. 
“I hope to channel an essential poetry.”
We spoke to Lapage after she was selected as a winner for our recent #CallForArt


Sandra Lapage

Image courtesy of the artist 
Tell us a bit about yourself.

Born in Brazil, I have a dual cultural background as I am both Brazilian and Belgian. I live in São Paulo, a huge vibrant city marked by contrasts and excessiveness, often decay, and poverty, lately harshly accentuated by the sanitary crisis and its political and economic consequences. This environment has led me to consider the everyday and the materials of my surroundings as the most precious materials to experiment with.


Sandra Lapage

Image courtesy of the artist
How would you describe your artistic practice? 

Making not knowing through feeling and fumbling. Moving blindly through materiality. In this sense, I love a quote by Corita Kent in the documentary “We have no art”: “We know of the ability to sing well, and we appreciate when someone sings well, and sometimes we think that everything comes to that, that people who think well are the brilliant people, but I wonder if we could also say that about people who feel well; (…) what can we say about someone who really feels ugliness? who really feels sadness and all the things that are ugly? The things this person feels are ugly, but the fact that this person can feel them is beautiful. The ability to feel is very beautiful.” 

And a second one by Agnes Varda in the documentary “Deux ans après”: “on travaille sans savoir… pas dans la signification, ni dans la continuité… je travaille comme je peux” (“we work without knowing… not searching for meaning, nor continuity… I work as I can”).

Sandra Lapage

Image courtesy of the artist
Tell us about an encounter with art that has shaped your practice.

So many! But if I had to choose the most striking encounter, the one that has definitely reshaped my practice, I should say El Anatsui. At that time I was concerned about my accumulation of traditional materials, as I always enjoyed working big: there was an excess of paper, cloth, cardboard, canvas, objects… It made me feel as if I was doing something superficial as I brought “stuff” into a world already clogged with too much stuff, and it made me question the meaning behind my art making. I was already shifting from traditional art materials to the collection of natural and man-made debris, as if envisioning a large decaying wonder cabinet. But when I saw El Anatsui’s intelligent and masterfully crafted work at the Brooklyn Museum, with an extraordinary mixture of perfection from afar and a certain roughness of materials from up close, speaking of accumulation, trash and decay (amongst so many other things!), I sensed that I had perhaps found a path for myself. It took me a couple of years to get over the shock of that encounter and actually be able to realize something with recycled materials.

Sandra Lapage

Image courtesy of the artist
What has your experience been in terms of mentorship and a sense of community in the art world, particularly among women artists?

I should name @carollinalauriano, who is not an artist but a curator/writer, as a generous soul in the art world. She works by creating a sense of community. 

Also, I should name a group created for the purposes of exhibiting together; we have worked together in symbiosis for months and have managed to exhibit twice so far in New York under the name In Praise of Magic. We are a group of Latin American women that share interests in terms of materiality and approach to art. 

And last but not least, I strive to work in a communal setting, and am now running, with 4 other artists, the collective art space Galpão Japaratuba in São Paulo.

On the other hand, maybe something important to point out: a sense of community is not always prevailing, as I feel that our times are marked by a moral and ethical degradation in all spheres. Therefore, in order to survive and protect yourself and your work, it is also important to recognize recurrent toxic dynamics in relationships and communities, and have the courage to break away from them when necessary: don’t feel trapped or paralyzed by people’s apparent power; there will always be a welcoming community that fits your needs.

Sandra La page

Image courtesy of the artist
What challenges have you faced throughout your career as an artist?

A sense of invisibility; I scream through my work, but people often mistake cordiality for weakness. Nevertheless, I feel that a battle can be won in the long run, and that gentleness is the best way to go, always, if I can manage it. I do fail at it, though, sometimes. Maybe often.

On another note, when I realized that being an artist is of the utmost importance to me, and therefore that I have to maneuver my life in order to be able to be an artist, and not the other way around: that has also been a challenge that I only feel resolved through the building of a supportive community. And, as I see it, communities are organic, moving and unstable, especially in times of accentuated crises such as these, but I tend to believe in their strength over time: just like relationships, they can dwindle but can make great comebacks.

Sandra Lapage

Image courtesy of the artist
What advice would you give to artists beginning their career?

Do not rush to find your voice, or at least try not to suffer too much over it.

Find a path of balance to keep experimenting.

Learn about yourself and your relationship to the world: we each have a unique voice that speaks of, or translates our own individual universe (a private cosmos of our own, in an image of the bigger picture), so trust that you have something meaningful to say, and that the truer you learn to be to yourself (which takes a lot of effort, patience, failure and hopelessness), the most meaningful your work will be to yourself, and as a natural consequence, to everyone else.

Sandra  Lapage

Image courtesy of the artist
What would you change about the art world if you could?

Create new markets and outlets for art.

Sandra Lapage

Image courtesy of the artist
How will the Repaint History fund support your career?

It will help pay for studio rent (for the next three months!) and perhaps for shipping artwork to an exhibition in the next few weeks.

Sandra Lapage

Image courtesy of the artist
 Are there any new projects you are currently working on?

There are, but although I really work at not being superstitious, I still prefer to be discreet when the world is in such turmoil and unpredictable! Hopefully unveiled in the next few months.

If you could own one artwork in the world, what would it be? 

Also a hard choice! But if I must pick one, Lekytos by Lenore Tawney

Who are your favourite women artists right now?

Lenore Tawney

Ruth Asawa

Sonia Gomes @soniagomesarte

Rebeca Horn

Kate mcguire @kate_mccgwire

Alice Hope @alice___hope

Virginia Fleck @virginiafleckstudio

Cristina Camacho @camacho__cristina

Janete Echelman @janetechelman

Vivian Suter 

Suzanne Jongmans @suzannejongmans

Cecilia Vicuna @ceciliavicuna

Marinette Cueco

Tracey Deep @floralsculptures

Rosie Lee Tompkins

Olga de Amaral

Mrinalini Mukherjee @mrinalinimukherjee.foundation

Jagoda Buic @jagodabuic

Sabina Tiemroth @sabinatiemroth

Vanessa Barragao @vanessabarragao_work

and I could go on…