Weighing in at nearly 2.5 ton, Hugo França‘s new ‘casulo’ (cocoon) sculptures are awe-inspiring in scale and ambition. The artist uses hardwoods indigenous to his native Brazil to create his monumental organic artworks and sinuous furniture, seen at R 20th Century Gallery in New York, crafting each piece from ancient ‘pequi’, a gigantic oleaginous tree that averages 45m and can live 1,000 years.
A committed naturalist, França is meticulous about the way he sources the wood, traveling through the forests, sometimes for days, in search of solid trees that have been felled or died naturally. Each casulo is then ‘refined': carved, smoothed and shaped from the trunk or roots to create an organic space of retreat and contemplation. When finished, it inspires what he describes as ‘a bonding experience between man and nature’. He encourages people to get inside the sculptures, ‘as if they were a part of it’.