Frida Baranek

Born 1961

Frida Baranek is one of a generation of sculptors using industrial materials to comment on industrialization and the health of Brazil’s environment.

She uses heavy tools and mechanical equipment to transform leftover steel sheets and tubes, iron wire, and even airplane parts into abstract sculptures that resemble forms found in the natural world.

The organic appearance of industrial waste is not the only paradox evident in Baranek’s work. Despite the weight of her materials, her delicately woven metal grids and nest-like constructions appear surprisingly light and airy.

By demonstrating that even industrial debris and other discarded materials can have meaning if reused and remade, Baranek’s sculptures lie at the crossroads of two important issues in our world today: environmentalism and recycling.

These ideas are particularly important in her home country of Brazil. In the past 40 years, this largest of South American countries has experienced immense changes related to rapid urbanization and industrialization.

Like many contemporary artists, Baranek is a global citizen. Since the 1980s, she has lived and worked in São Paulo, Paris, Berlin, and New York City. Baranek has participated in many solo and group exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale and the Bienal de São Paulo.

National Museum of Women in the Arts