From a young age, Fernanda Brum developed a deep connection with the arts. Be it reading about its history, frequenting ballet classes or visiting the abandoned indigenous cemetery near her house, the fascination with the combination of mysticism, surreal reality and artistry as prime means of expression has been a constant throughout her life.
Starting her studies with a career in architecture, following the footsteps of her father, Brum graduated from Ritter dos Reis University, specializing in Urban Planning.
Throughout her life, Fernanda has dabbled in different areas of creativity. Going through counter-cultural movements in her hometown of Porto Alegre, and later São Paulo. A continuous journey trough various ways of expressing her identity – from opening spaces like "Nation" in 1995 (a store dedicated to new nacional designers) and “Mojo” in the year 2000 (combining hairdressing, art and events), to a critically acclaimed dip on costume design for theatre with Falos & Stercus.
Whilst involved in this array of projects, Brum lost her mother, Marly, and her father, Joaquim. The impact of the grief and loss are explored in her future projects, and her art expresses different forms of strong womanhood and loss.
This experience of loss prompted the creation of Brum’s intimate project, “Númen”. With this, disembodied heads in bronze are reduced to their most organic form. The main signifier of identity, in Brum’s hands, the head is an eerie memory of mortality and experience, now a physical form without consciousness, yet still bearing a striking energy of what it once was.
Hinting at Memento Mori, the heads are displayed on the table as ornaments, reminders. As they become different entities with emotional expressions, the artist explores identity and ancestry, as well as her familiar relationships.
Brum furthers her education in sculpture and art, taking part in various technical courses in Brazil. “Ave Maria”, idealised and completed while living in a small and conservative community, São Francisco Xavier, is her first full-body sculpture. An old woman imprisoned by barbed wire, searching to maintain her strength and dignity. This sculpture was awarded with the international prize of best sculpture on the last edition of the Salon Automne France-Brazil.
Her last sculpture, “Girl Kneeling”, is an ideological continuation from her previous work. These sculptures explore the idea of the body entangled by religion, the body as property and beliefs as a moral prison for women.
Fernanda Brum currently resides and works in São Paulo, Brazil.
Photo: / Text: Bijú Belinky