Apollo Magazine

In the studio with… Lucia Laguna

The Brazilian artist draws influence from the views of Rio de Janeiro’s suburbs she can see through her studio windows

Lucia Laguna in her studio. Lucia Laguna in her studio.

Lucia Laguna’s brightly coloured paintings and collages celebrate the varied ecosystems of her home country, Brazil. She typically divides her work into three groupings –  Jardim (Garden), Estúdio (Studio) and Paisagem (Landscape) – and employs collaborative processes to develop her ideas. Each work begins with the artist inviting her studio assistants to reproduce images or ideas drawn from her inventory of photographs and art-historical references. Laguna then responds to the resulting output with her own marks and inventions to create a palimpsestic surface that seeks to reflect the plurality of the environments on which she focuses. Her first solo exhibition in the UK, ‘Life is only possible reinvented’ at Sadie Coles HQ, 1 Davies Street (until 17 December), expands on the ‘Paisagem’ series, which explores the entanglement of the natural and urban worlds.

Where is your studio?

My studio is on the third floor of my home in Rio de Janeiro, which is close to the Maracanã Stadium and the Mangueira hill, home to a famous samba school. Most of my works draw on my surroundings. From my studio window, I can see the vast expanse of Rio de Janeiro’s working-class suburbs.

Paisagem No 130 (2022), Lucia Laguna. Photo: Eduardo Ortega; courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London

Do you have a studio routine? 

Yes. I get ready to work early in the morning by selecting photographs of my garden and the view from my window. I also look for references in books for my works in progress. In the afternoon, my assistants arrive and we talk about what needs to be done to start a new work or to progress others.

Is there anything that frustrates you about your studio? 

I would like it to be twice as big…

Paisagem No 129 (2022), Lucia Laguna. Photo: Eduardo Ortega; courtesy the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London

What’s the strangest object in your studio?

There are many objects that are not part of my work, but that function as starting points for different stages in my process: discarded scrap items, such as old garden railings, objects found in second-hand shops, such as wooden moulds once used by cobblers, and machine components like gears.

Who’s the most interesting visitor you’ve had to your studio? 

All visitors are very welcome. I like to talk to those who are interested in art, mostly students and other artists.

‘Lucia Laguna: Life is only possible reinvented’ is at Sadie Coles HQ, 1 Davies Show, London on until 17 December 2022.

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