Inhotim, a Botanical Paradise Full of the Most Wonderful Sculptures
Ninety hectares of tropical paradise, inhabited by works of art, is the legacy that a single man gifted humanity.
The product of the botanical passion of a mining magnate named Bernardo Paz, Inhotim is a paradise that can be found 370 miles from Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The project began in a farm in the vicinity to where the Paz family used to spend their weekends. Paz began to collect works of art on a grand scale, and the more pieces he acquired the more land he bought to house them. When the pieces began to outgrow the space, he called the famous landscape architect Robert Murle Marx, responsible for Brasilia’s gardens and most of Rio de Janeiro’s as well. Together they focused on building a tropical paradise unlike any that had been seen before, which opened its doors to the public in 2006.
“Art only makes sense when it is cherished by all. There is no reason for restricting contemporary art access to a few art collectors. That was our key purpose when creating Inhotim”, noted the creators.
Inhotim is a dialogue between art and nature, a perfect correspondence in which over 100 installations from different nations coexist in natural spaces, designed especially for each one of them. Among the artists that are shown there are the Brasilians Helio Oitcica, Tunga, Lygia Pape, Lygia Clark, Cildo Meireles and Ernesto Neto, meanwhile the international representatives are: Olafur Eliasson, Chris Burden, Matthew Barney, Doug Aitken, and Janet Cardiff. The most plentiful pieces are sculptures (there are mirror games, enormous kaleidoscopes, ephemeral and conceptual art, optical, organic illusions, etc.), but we can also find videoart, painting, mosaics and architecture –– a true wonderland of visual culture.
The botanical garden that envelops all of the pieces covers over 90 acres, and has an incredible organic collection made up of 1,500 varieties of palms, 600 lily types, and around 420 orchids of 335 species. Thanks to this, since 2005 the location has become a fortunate library for students and researchers.
The greatest efforts have been made to ensure the place is completely sustainable. The benches for example, are carved from old tree trunks and there are 160 of them around the park. The garden’s organic material and the waste from the restaurant and bar is recycled and made into rich compost that is used in the planting and maintenance of the botanical species. Currently the park has five artificial lakes that cover around 40,000 squared metres; they are used as irrigation reserves because it only rains six months a year. If you happen to travel to Brazil visiting this paradise, created especially for visitors is a must, here you will be able to experience the uniqueness of art’s return to nature.
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