Clarissa Tossin

Clarissa TossinArtist’s Statement

I work across video, sculpture, performance, and installation to reflect on the ways the built environment shapes us as subjects. Having grown up in Brasília, Brazil’s modern planned capital, made me aware of the global circulation of modernity images as well as their effects on the national and international psychologies. More recently, I have engaged with spaces and intertwining aesthetics where transnational histories of Brazil and the United States remain imprinted.

For “Brasília, Cars, Pools and Other Modernities,” a 1970s VW Brasilia car, loaded with pool cleaning equipment, was brought from Brasília to Santa Monica to assist with the Strick House swimming pool maintenance routine. Brasília’s architect, Oscar Niemeyer, designed the house concurrently with his work on the city. He never visited the building as his communist affiliations prevented him to enter the U.S. for many years. The installation draws parallels between the two cities through architecture and car culture.

A recent body of work examines Ford’s rubber plantation villages in the Brazilian Amazon and a local architectonic style, New England’s Cape Cod cottages, brought to the tropical forest. “Streamlined,” contrasts Belterra, second Ford’s town in the Amazon with its “twin” Alberta, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The installation presents an uncanny situation where the corresponding cinematography makes the familiar foreign and vice-versa. By streamlining the video editing, the visual differences, such as the landscape, architectural adaptations and each town’s daily rhythm, establish a sense of place where specific cultural aspects inhabit and change these formally equivalent preconceived urban spaces.



Select Solo Exhibitions

Transplanted, Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo, Brazil

Brasília, Cars, Pools & Other Modernities, Artpace, San Antonio
Blind Spot, Blaffer Art Museum University of Houston, Houston
Study for a Landscape, Sicardi Gallery, Houston

Select Group Exhibitions

Made in L.A. 2014, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
Unsettled Landscapes, SITE Santa Fe, Santa Fe
Bringing the World into the World, The Queens Museum, New York

When Attitudes Became Form Become Attitudes, CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco / Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit

Select Fellowships and Awards

Artpace Fellowship, Artpace San Antonio
ARC Grant, Center for Cultural Innovation

Artistic Innovation Grant, Center for Cultural Innovation

Core Program Fellowship, Museum of Fine Arts Houston


M.F.A., 2009
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA

B.F.A., 2000
FAAP – Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado, São Paulo, Brazil