post-title Jacques Douchez + Norberto Nicola | Esther Schipper | 09.09.-15.10.2022

Jacques Douchez + Norberto Nicola | Esther Schipper | 09.09.-15.10.2022

Jacques Douchez + Norberto Nicola | Esther Schipper | 09.09.-15.10.2022

Jacques Douchez + Norberto Nicola | Esther Schipper | 09.09.-15.10.2022

until 15.10. | #3616ARTatBerlin | Esther Schipper presents from 9. September 2022 the exhibition by the artists Jacques Douchez and Norberto Nicola.

Esther Schipper is pleased to announce a special presentation with historical works by Jacques Douchez and Norberto Nicola, organized with Olivier Renaud-Clément.

Jacques Douchez and Norberto Nicola operated a collective studio, Atelier Douchez-Nicola, from 1959-1980. Inspired by tapestry as a three-dimensional form that combines finely woven natural fibers with abstract sculptural forms, their collaborative and independent textile work marks a key chapter in Brazilian art history. Inspired by his extensive travels, Nicola’s work often combines techniques and materials of indigenous cultures with those of European handicraft. For his part, Douchez’s dedication to abstraction is evident in balanced geometric constructions.

Central to Norberto Nicola’s textile practice are the qualities of flexibility, tension, and elasticity, which the artist sought to capture in his work, as well as the use of mixed media. In addition to drawing on his training as an abstract painter, works by Nicola demonstrate the importance of intuition and touch. Sourcing all materials from within Brazil, Nicola studied techniques and gathered natural fibers used by different indigenous communities throughout the country. He was a particularly passionate student of the feather art of indigenous communities of the Amazon, such as the Urubu-Kaapor and Tapirapé. He found resonance both in the color palettes used in feather art, which echo those of the Brazilian landscape, and in their broad functions that transcended mere decoration. Works such as Descobrimento (Discovery, 1980s) and Rebentos da Noite (Sprouts of the Night, 1986) conjure up images of verdant jungle, damp soil and fragile new growth.

For Jacques Douchez, artistic tapestry combines his early fascination with the medieval textile arts of Cluny and the conceptual and technical rigor learned in painter Samson Flexor’s highly influential Atelier-Abstração. Untitled (1970s) is characteristic of this: its brooding color palette offset by careful construction and daring slits that evoke the work of abstractionist contemporaries such as Lucio Fontana. In Untitled (1973) Douchez’s inclinations towards mathematics and balanced composition are clearly on display. While the colors reference the lush flora of Brazil, the work is laid out on a rigorous geometric grid and the irregular organic forms are strictly confined within two harmonious spheres.

The joint studio Atelier Douchez-Nicola represented a significant step in the development of contemporary art in Brazil. In conversation with international innovators such as Magdalena Abakanowicz and Jagoda Buić Douchez and Nicola broke with local and Western tradition to create three-dimensional tapestries. Texture, mixed media, and intentional incisions complement the artists’ painterly skills of color and line, creating a whole new kind of “woven object” as the artists’ referred to their works in their 1969 manifesto Formas Tecidas (Woven Forms).

ART at Berlin - Jacques Douchez, Photo Ding Musa
Jacques Douchez, Untitled, 1970s, Wool, natural fibres and pigments (detail). Courtesy of Jacques Douchez and Esther Schipper. Photo © Ding Musa


Norberto Nicola was born in 1930 in São Paulo, Brazil, where he lived until his death in 2007.
Nicola was an influential Brazilian artist who worked across many media (including painting, tapestry, pastel, and even computer imaging) in a language that was both structural and abstract as well as deeply intuitive and lyrical. In 1954 he began attending Samson Flexor’s Atelier-Abstração where, in addition to taking painting, drawing and composition classes, Nicola encountered a variety of different artists, including Lasar Segall (1889-1957) and Tarsila do Amaral (1886–1973).

Nicola was the founder and curator of numerous exhibitions and events devoted to tapestry. These include the 1st Exhibition of Brazilian Tapestry in 1974 and the Tapestry Triennial, inaugurated in 1976. He was one of the founders of the Brazilian Center for Contemporary Tapestry, opened in 1976.

Nicola’s solo exhibitions include: Norberto Nicola: Contemporary Tapestry, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2009)
Selected group exhibitions include: Dimensions of Constructive Art in Brazil: The Adolpho Leirner Collection, Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Texas (2007).
His work is held in the collections of the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo, the San Francisco Museum and the Houston Museum, among others.

Jacques Douchez was born in 1921 in Mâcon, France. He lived in São Paulo, Brazil, until his death in 2012.
Douchez was an important French-Brazilian painter and tapestry-artist whose practice emerged from a deep fascination with abstraction, mathematics, and music. Douchez spent his childhood and youth in Burgundy, before moving to Brazil in 1947 and establishing himself in São Paulo. He studied with Italian painter Gaetano de Gennaro (1890–1959) and later with painter Samson Flexor (1907–1971).

In 1951, he took part in the foundation of Atelier-Abstração that fostered over two dozen painters during its nine years of activities. Douchez participated in over ninety solo and group shows in Brazil and abroad. He presented his works in nineteen international biennials and triennials.

His works have received various awards and mentions, such as an honorable mention at the II Biennial of Applied Arts in Uruguay (1967), the first award at the I Tapestry Triennial of MAM São Paulo (1976), and a highlight at the Łódź International Tapestry Triennial in Poland (1985).

Douchez’s solo exhibitions include Jacques Douchez: Tapestry, MARGS – The Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art (1981) and Plan and Relief – Abstract Geometries and Woven Forms, Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil (2003).

Selected group exhibitions include: II Biennial of Applied Arts, Punta del Este, Uruguay (1967) and VII International Biennial of Tapestry, Lausanne, Switzerland (1975)

The two artists have been featured as a duo in Woven Forms by Nicola and Douchez, MASP – São Paulo Museum of Art; Fundação Cultural do Distrito Federal, in Brasília (1973); Tapeçarias de Douchez-Nicola, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian Lisbon (1975) and The Fire Birds Will Take Flight Again, MAM-SP – São Paulo Museum of Modern Art (2021).

Vernissage: Friday, 9. September 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m.

Exhibition dates: Friday, 9. September until Saturday, 15 October 2022

To the gallery



Caption Title: Norberto Nicola, Descobrimento, 1980s, Wool, natural fibres and pigments (detail), Courtesy of Nomberto Nicola and Esther Schipper. Photo © Ding Musa.

Exhibition Jacques Douchez + Norberto Nicola – Esther Schipper | Zeitgenössische Kunst in Berlin | Contemporary Art | Exhibitions Berlin Galerien | ART at Berlin

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