Thursday, July 7, 2011


Last Sunday before leaving Belo Horizonte, we took a day trip to Inhotim, a stunning garden and contemporary art center about and hour-and-a-half away from the center of BH ("bay-aGAH") in the campo of Minas Gerais. The immaculate and extensive grounds house 17 gallery situated pavilions among lakes, lawns, and spectacular tropical landscaping.

I enjoyed the art to be sure. There was the Forty Part Motet, probably my favorite piece, which put a classical piece of music written in the 16th century for 40 voices in 40 different speakers arranged throughout a large room. It was pretty neat to walk around the room and be able to listen to each individual voice, then step to the center and hear the piece move back and forth all around you. Then there was Através, a study in barriers and transparency, where you walked around on broken glass--but only if you were not wearing sandals! And Celacanto Provoca Maremoto, a larger-than life version of traditional Portuguese azulejos, which I loved because it seemed so very Brazilian to me. Perhaps the most architectural of the art pieces was Invenção da cor, Penetrável Magic Square # 5, De Luxe, which was very much in the spirit of Latin American architecture, including the work of Mexican Modernist Luis Barragán.

But as an architect, I was also taken by the design of some of the galleries in the great spirit and legacy of Brazilian Modernism and the Burle-Marx-esque landscaping. It was really a spectacular day and a great visit to a stunning location.

Caught in the act! The architect taking pictures of an infinity-edge pool!

The main reception pavilion across one of the several lakes. The mountains in the background were really lovely.

This was my favorite of the galleries architecturally speaking (though it also contained one of my favorite pieces too, the one of the giant azulejos).

You entered the gallery across a causeway of sorts though a deep-blue-gree reflecting pool with a thin infinity edge.

After entering underneath the cubic gallery and seeing the artwork in a large, windowless room, a long ramp leads up to the rooftop for a great view of the surrounding landscape...

...then you exit across a metal-mesh bridge out of the opposite side of the gallery from which you entered.

This pavilion was pretty cool, too, with a sinuous bridge a la classic Brazilian Modernism.

The lake in front of this gallery had a much different feel than the reflecting pool in front of the other gallery. The appearance was more natural, but knowing a bit about landscape architecture, even the most "natural" of planned landscapes are planned just the same.

The education center had a really awesome water garden on the roof, with a number of different planting areas including some grasses and, one of my favorite, papyrus.

We ate at this restaurant, which had a series of really cool movable sunshades along the perimeter.

Some of the varied landscape around the grounds, featuring lush tropical vegetation.

Even some of the plants were architectural! I stepped underneath this grove and looked up thinking it was like the fan vaults of some great cathedral.

This was perhaps the most architectural of the exterior artworks, with bright colors and bold shapes. Very Latin America.

The pathways were made of huge irregularly-shaped stone pavers. The grass areas and lawns were immaculate.

A photograph up into a great grove of eucalyptus trees. I really love eucalyptus trees, which remind me of South America. Eucalyptus is found in Curitiba, and also where I was in Peru in February.

I know the photo is blurry, but there is just something about the colors of the houses and the color of the light at sunset in South America. This was taken from the bus on the way back from Inhotim to Belo Horizonte.

1 comment:

Julia said...

OK, that place is AMAZING.