Rosângela Rennó (1962) is a Brasilian artist with an architectural training who later studied Fine Art, earning a PhD from the School of Communication and Arts at the University of São Paolo in 1977.
Rosângela Rennó’s source of inspiration and the basis of her work is what she calls “dead files” – newspapers, old family albums, slides found in flea markets, archives, etc. Interested in “how the system systematically tries to erase the links to the past”, she wants to render visible society’s anonymous and overlooked protagonists who, in vernacular photographs, often express far more about the human condition than photographs with an artistic intent. Rennó’s desire is to recreate the world through what it seems to treat as excess and waste. Photographs have a life cycle and when they loose their symbolic value they end up in a dead archive. Death is a fact of life and Rennó’s work maps out the shadows and salvages the buried stories of ordinary lives.
Distinguished by her innovative, often politically charged presentations, Rennó appropriates and transforms archival photographic material into larger compositions, often in the form of installations or photographic books. Her work is a systematic investigation of time, forgetting, and the social and psychological changes that transform memory. She is interested in the imperfection of memory and photography, both of which are fragmentary and approximate lived experience. In Rennó’s words “I prefer to work with amnesia more than with memories.”
Rennó has taken part in numerous international group shows, as well as Biennials in Sao Paolo (1994 and 1998), Venice (1993 and 2003), and the 1st Triennial of Paris, Intense Proximité (2012). Her work forms part of many international museum collections: The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; Colección Cisneros, Caracas / New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Tate Modern, London; MoMA, New York; Daros Latin America, Zurich; Centro de Arte Contemporânea Inhotim CACI, Belo Horizonte; Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo.