"See-Through:" Video Explores the Spatial Dynamics Fostered by Lina Bo Bardi's Glass Easels

Architectural photographer and filmmaker Romullo Fontenelle of Studio Flagrante shared his latest video featuring Lina Bo Bardi's concrete and glass easels and the spatial dynamics they create in the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP). The easels, first introduced in 1968, were brought back to life after a redesign by Metro Arquitetos.

The video explores how the public interacts with the works of art, a relationship mediated by the diaphanous easels designed by Bo Bardi. The film's narrator explores a choreography where visitors navigate the exhibition space while contemplating the painting's meaning -- a dance suggested, although not defined, by the architect:

"There is a symbolic message behind the idea of hanging works of art up in the air, making them hover with barely any physical support. Nothing between the piece and the person who observes it, nothing behind it either.

This is a democratic space to exhibit art. There is nothing serving as support for the pieces. Hence, nothing defines the space either. It’s just the public and the works of art. By attaching paintings to diaphanous glass, Lina managed to bring them closer to each other, to superpose them, offering possibilities to establish connections which would not be possible in a traditional museum.

The result is a very complex dynamic of people exploring the spaces in front of the paintings, but also behind them and beside them, walking between some of the most valuable works of art mankind has ever produced. 

And perhaps, the most exciting thing about the easels is this sort of dance created by people moving around, displacing themselves to contemplate the paintings and their backs."

Based in São Paulo, Studio Flagrante was founded in 2017 by architect and photographer Romullo Fontenelle. Follow his works on Instagram and Studio Flagrante's website