Untitled (from the Deserto-Modelo series), 2021

Photo: Everton Ballardin | Courtesy the artist Mendes Wood DM, Sao Paulo, Brussels and New York

Hans Ulrich Obrist: Do you have any other parallel realities, besides monochromes and landscapes?

Lucas Arruda: Yes, jungles.

Hans Ulrich Obrist: Yes of course, the jungles. What prompted the jungles?

Lucas Arruda: In fact, I mostly paint imagined horizons. But, in the jungle’s case, there is a less elusive connection. I have a house in the jungle near São Paulo where I go all the time. I guess jungles hold a particular mystery, a sense of imminence – as if something is always about to happen. And for these kinds of paintings I often evoke a character: Curupira. He is a mythological character with inverted feet, a young trickster who protects the jungle. Like Hermes, or Loki, he fools us in order to prevent human connections to the forest. You never know what to expect from Curupira: he might help you or just as easily kill you. The legend says that he is the embodiment of the forest, and I find this especially compelling. The jungle is the only verticality in my work, which somehow grounds it. But Curupira is there to mess around with this idea.
(Extract of the interview of Lucas Arruda in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, April 2018 in Lucas Arruda’s monograph, published by Cahiers d'Art)