An enormous art exhibit has taken over the historic Hospital Matarazzo, and the city’s been buzzing about it for the past month. Kicking off the São Paulo Biennale, Made By…Feito Por Brasileiros features works by nearly 100 Brazilian and international artists.
The hospital was founded in 1904 by São Paulo’s Italian community, but eventually closed in 1993 after a steady decline of funds. Three years ago a French hotel group bought the valuable property, right by Avenida Paulista, with plans to turn it into a luxury hotel and shopping center. But for a brief moment, it gets to be a center of art for the city.
The site is known as Cidade Matarazzo, which is fitting. It’s like its own little city, pretending that it’s miles away from the high rises and modern rush of Paulista. With the art installations, it feels like you’ve stepped into another world.
I was reminded of one time when my parents let my sister and I draw on the walls before they painted them a new color. We went wild with our imaginations, and took over the house with anything from scribbling to murals. It felt like the artists received the same short-lived creative freedom.
The buildings haven’t been remodeled or restored yet, so it was full of chipped paint, abandoned structures and holes in the foundation, and many artists’ names were scrawled on the wall in pencil. The old building seemed rather stunning yet macabre, like the hotel from The Shining. (Incidentally, one of the artists did a piece inspired by the movie.)
Matarazzo is a labyrinth, with different corridors to wander, new works to discover, and distinct views from countless windows. In fact, I’m pretty sure I missed a number of rooms. But what I saw kept me curious and in wonder.
More photos (yes, more!) on my Tumblr.