Leya Mira-Brander’s curious dream-like prints are crafted using the aged and delicate medium of copper plate etching. These mesmerizing illustrations of animals, geometric objects, natural and urban landscapes, human anatomy and poetic portraits, consolidate threads – the words, language and emotions – that mold Brander’s own experiences and those she might like to have. As the subjective origin of her work, her real and imaginary stories feed each other to produce varied and complex associative narratives. The worlds in these enigmatic images, steeped in melancholic mysticism, are equally shaped by the romanticized history of copper etching associated with the work of the Old Masters.
The configuration of images and prints are never systematically repeated. Rather, specific motifs are re-used to produce unique mosaic alliances in thematic units, something Brander likens to the arrangement of the periodic table. Through the manipulation of metaphoric scientific structures – the order of the periodic table being one example – Brander reformats the pieces of her puzzles to transform their meanings and produce new reactions. Similarly, the peculiar material quality of the copper and the chemical reactions that occur in the making of the prints produce varied reliefs that instill the ambiguity of the interchangeable contexts.
Her fascination with playfully reordering the established orders of science, biology and anatomy – in the images she has drawn and their arrangements – is brought together in her exploration of the unconfirmed thoughts and visions of the imagination. Awakening undisturbed sentiments and recollections, these spellbound moments capture a subtle stillness that distract from the mundane to release unconscious needs, wants and desires. New worlds collide and perceptions of reality are altered within Brander’s visions, suggesting eerily familiar scenes in which her own dreams and realities coalesce with what we feel we may already know.
Brander’s fascination with the endless configurations of her images extends to the experimentation of exhibition design and the display of her work. Creating modest prints that are unceremoniously presented, the unframed prints often simply tacked to gallery walls or laid flat on glass covered tables – as they exist here as they were presented at the 28th Sao Paulo Bienal, In Living Contact, 2008 – Brander succeeds at refreshing the historically austere practice of copper etching.
Leya Mira-Brander lives and works in Sao Paulo.
Curated by CCS Bard graduate student Laura Barlow
THE BULLETIN BOARD
The Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College is the third venue to host Matthew Higgs’s (Curator and Director of White Columns) bulletin board project. CCS and Higgs collaborated to begin a bulletin board program at Bard in the fall of 2007 with the understanding that the graduate students at CCS would curate it. The bulletin board is an enclosed glass case divided into three panes by aluminum bars. As of January 26, it has migrated from outside of the CCS Library to its new location in the Bertelsmann Campus Center, adjacent to the billiard tables.