Home / Art / Interactive virtual museum brings together the life and work of painter José Antonio da Silva

Interactive virtual museum brings together the life and work of painter José Antonio da Silva

With three-dimensional visualization and sound in 360 degrees immersive, digital platform with gamified actions goes live from Wednesday (1º/2) with digitalized collection in high definition of 69 paintings, 16 sculptures, 27 collages, photographs, letters and personal objects of the self-taught artist of rural origin who lived in São José do Rio Preto (SP) and was discovered in 1946

from this wednesday, 1February, the public will be able to visit the Silva sem Fronteiras Virtual Museum, dedicated to the life and work of the painter José Antonio da Silva (1909-1996), considered one of the most important Brazilian primitive artists of the 20th century. 20, defined as modern worldwide.

On an interactive digital platform with gamified actions, where visitors can explore the materials in a variety of ways, the virtual museum provides three-dimensional visualization and sound in 360 degrees immersive. This enables a complete online visitation experience., which is free and easy to access from any device with internet, like computer, smartphone, tablet and virtual reality glasses.

The platform gathers 69 paintings, 16 sculptures, 27 collages, in addition to photographs, letters and personal effects of the multifaceted artist who was also a sculptor, designer, writer and repentista. The digitized material belongs to the collection of the José Antonio da Silva Museum of Primitivist Art (MAP), located in São José do Rio Preto (SP), where Silva spent most of his life and had his art discovered, equipment linked to the Municipal Secretariat of Culture. The initiative is from the collective Robo.Art, coordinated by Vinicius Dall'Acqua, group of artists based in the city, and is curated by professor and researcher Romildo Sant’Anna, studious of the artist's universe and director of MAP until 2019.

The exhibition route comprises six virtual rooms that allow the division of pictorial series, like the 14 paintings that make up the “Stories of São José do Rio Preto” (1966). one of the rooms, titled "Memory", reveals the artist's trajectory through photographic images and personal items. Another of the spaces contains an exclusive lecture by the curator about the artist's life and work.. In the scanning process, developed in a studio set up in loco at the museum itself, high quality photos of the paintings were used with texture depth and brightness adjustments. for the sculptures, 3D photogrammetry resource was applied, which allows a physical dimension of the object.

The interactive tour of the Silva sem Fronteiras Virtual Museum takes place based on information provided by audio guides, developed by the multi-artist Jef Telles and narrated by the curator himself, who brings his critical eye and his personal experiences to accompany the painter from the 1990s 1970 until his death, while the high fidelity of the digitization makes it possible to visualize the textures of the canvases and brushstrokes. In addition, the public has contact with the real dimension of the works, since, when entering the platform, each visitor chooses an avatar of standardized size in order to simulate a physical visitation. When walking through the rooms, visitors will be able to use the arrow keys or the “W” keys, “A”, “S” and “D” and mouse rotation, like in games, or just the “touch do smartphone.

During all weekends in February, three hours per day, an educator will be online in real time to guide how to use the platform and answer any questions about the painter. The public will be invited to fill out a form narrating the experience, which will serve as a basis for possible future adjustments.

Dall'Acqua observes that the Silva Museum, as it is known, it lacks recognition as a historical-cultural heritage by the population of riopretense and the application of technological means can contribute to the expansion of access and its due importance and also to the preservation of the collection. “The creation of the parallel virtual museum annuls the physical limitations of geographic dispositions to the artist’s works and collection. despite containing 106 cataloged works, many are not on display at the Museum of Primitive Art due to limited space.. Because it was developed for the virtual environment, the extension of the Silva sem Fronteiras Virtual Museum allows for a complete exhibition.” The idea is to expand the digital collection in the future, including the inclusion of pieces from private collections.

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The Silva sem Fronteiras Virtual Museum project is made possible by ProAC Editais, from the Secretariat of Culture and Creative Economy of the Government of the State of São Paulo, in the modality “Museums and collections, reform, expansion and modernization.

About Silva

Born in Sales de Oliveira, of rural origin and with little schooling, Silva was self-taught. In 1946, at the opening exhibition of the House of Culture of São José do Rio Preto, his paintings caught the attention of critics Lourival Gomes Machado (1917-1967), Paulo Mendes de Almeida (1905-1986) and the philosopher João Cruz e Costa (1904-1978). In the first solo show, two years later, at Domus Gallery, in São Paulo, the then director of MASP, Pietro Maria Bardi, acquired his paintings and deposited part of them in the museum's collection. In 1951, the 1st International Biennial of São Paulo, Received Acquisition Award from MuseumofModernArt (MoMA) de Nova York. In 1966, won Sala Especial at the 33rd Venice Biennale and recorded two LPs, with own compositions.

In the same year, in São José do Rio Preto, created the Municipal Museum of Contemporary Art, with pieces from his personal collection. maintained the museum until 1979, when you retired. In 1980, when I already lived in São Paulo, the Museum of Primitive Art José Antonio da Silva was founded, with works by the artist and pieces from the old museum he founded. In 2012, the facilities were transferred to the historic building of the former municipal library, where did you work. Among his published books, is “Maria Clara” (1970), prefaced by literary critic Antônio Candido (1918-2017).

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“Silva conceived dramatic scenes, hopeful, answering machines, meditative, depressing, lyrics, full of deep emotions. Perhaps because he is misunderstood in his city, was in a hurry to take his canvases to the eyes of the outside. I thought that being a dreamer is believing in something that doesn’t need to exist.”, notes the curator of the Silva sem Fronteiras Virtual Museum. Sant’Anna highlights the importance of the artist as he was the first Brazilian primitivist to enter the national arts circuit with that nickname. Observa, yet, that his production goes beyond the limits of so-called primitivist art, naive or popular. “Silva himself considered himself an expressionist, a surrealist, refused to be branded a primitivist, what he considered beneath his work.”

The critic P.M.. Bardi divided Silva's painting into four phases and defined a characteristic common to all of them: movement. “His canvases open to wide spaces, appearing in the foreground of the scene – theater, dance, animals, coffee plantations and the endless cotton fields (…) The artist's spontaneity in abstracting the details draws attention: rows of white dots resemble cotton flowers, and black lines scattered over an earth-colored background are authentic felled trunks”, wrote down, in 1981.

About Robo.Art

The museum was created in 2018, in São José do Rio Preto, Robo.Art is an artistic research and production group in multiple languages, management and production of cultural projects. Composed of six artists from different areas (Vinicius Dall'Acqua, Elissa Pomponio, Gustavo Aaron, Vinicius French, Fabiana Pezzotti, José Vitor Gomes and Eric Barbosa), currently develops work within various artistic segments, with an emphasis on audiovisual arts and their aspects, plastic arts, interventions and performances based on research of new platforms and use of technology.


General coordination and 3D artist: Vinicius Dall'Acqua
Curated By: Romildo Sant’Anna
Executive production and visual communication of the museum: Elissa Pomponio
Audio guide production and direction: Jef Such
Educational: Gustavo Aaron
Photography and videography: Abaeté Producer
scenographic orientation: Leo Bauab
actor and narrator: Glauco Garcia
Press office: Graziela Delalibera


Silva sem Fronteiras Virtual Museum
visitation free, from the 1st of February 2023
Where: www.robo.art.br/museu-virtual-silva-sem-fronteiras
Access from Internet-enabled devices such as a computer, smartphone, tablet and virtual reality glasses

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