Written in late 1980s, this text by art critic Lorenzo Mammì examines the recurring aspects he finds in the work of the sculptor José Resende (b. 1945). The article refers to works presented in 1988, originally during the forty-third Venice Biennale, and subsequently in individual exhibitions in Rio de Janeiro (Funarte) and in São Paulo (Galeria Subdistrito). Earlier in that decade, Mammì detected in Resende’s work the projection of the sculpture into empty space through fragile equilibria. In these works, the critic confirms the tense, compact coordination of fairly heterogeneous materials (iron, felt, paraffin wax, lead, leather, etc.). In his opinion, there is no communication between the sculpture and its surroundings. The works mentioned were created by the sculptor after his studies under a scholarship granted by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, in New York, between 1984 and 1985.
Beyond his role as an artist, through which he assumed a leading role in establishing an innovative language for sculpture, José Resende was also one of the founding members of Grupo Rex. This group was formed in 1966 by the Brazilian artists Wesley Duke Lee (1931–2010), Geraldo de Barros (1923–98), Nelson Leirner (b. 1932), Carlos Fajardo (b. 1941), Luiz Paulo Baravelli (b. 1942), and Frederico Nasser (b. 1942). The group entered into the ongoing debate about the Brazilian art world when it joined forces with a gallery (Rex Gallery & Sons) from 1966 to 1967, and a newsletter, Rex Time. Along with Nasser and Baravelli, Resende organized the Centro de Experimentação Artística Escola Brasil. He also contributed articles to journals such as Malasartes, for example “Ausência de Escultura” (no. 3, April/May/June 1976) and was both cofounder and editor of the newspaper A Parte do Fogo (1980). Moreover, he had countless individual exhibitions throughout his life as an artist, as well as participating in several São Paulo biennials (1967, 1983, 1989, and 1998). He also showed work in the Panorama da Arte Brasileira organized by the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo (MAM-SP). In 2003, the publisher Cosac Naify published the volume José Resende, which was a compendium of the artist’s work.
Lorenzo Mammì earned his master’s degree in Florence, Italy (Materie Letterarie della Università degli Studi di Firenze, 1984), and his doctorate in philosophy in Brazil at the Universidade de São Paulo in 1998 (USP). He is currently a professor at the same institution. Although his experience is primarily in the arts (especially music), he works in other specialties such as contemporary art and patristic philosophy. As a curator, he distinguished himself with his approach to coordinating the project Arte Concreta Paulista and for curating the exhibition Concreta ’56 (Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo, 2006). He has also published various books: Volpi (São Paulo: Cosac Naify, 1999), Carlito Carvalhosa (São Paulo: Cosac Naify, 2000), and Iole de Freitas: Sobrevôo, as well as organizing an anthology of texts (São Paulo: Cosac Naify, 1999, 2000, and 2002).
For additional information on José Resende, the critic Ronaldo Brito emphazizes in his essay “Em forma de mundo”  the presence of modern elements in his sculpture.