Universes in Universe

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Arthur Bispo do Rosário

His complex universe created along 50 years of internment in a psychiatric hospital. Including potos of works shown at the Venice Biennale 2013.
May 2013

Arthur Bispo do Rosário did the great bulk of his work during the fifty years following December 1938, when he was admitted to the Colônia Juliano Moreira, on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. His entry into the asylum was the moment the artist started on an artistic path with an intensity and freedom that would see him create one of the most marvelous bodies of work in Brazilian art. Bispo’s method combined autobiography and creative practice. The blue thread he used for his embroideries came from the psychiatric hospital uniforms. And recent criticism suggests that Bispo made use of the protection and stability of the asylum to create his work.

Bispo’s output expressed his experience of the universe. He endlessly listed every single person he met, and his works incorporated every element he came across in his daily life. He declared his belief in God, but still criticized dogmatic stances, in hundreds of texts obsessively rendered in innumerable embroideries.

Bispo asserted his belief in the power of art, the imagination, and play as crucial tools for the acquisition of knowledge. [1]

Museo Bispo do Rosário Arte Contemporânea

The Museum Bispo do Rosário is located in the West area of Rio de Janeiro, in the Taquara neighbourhood. It is hosted in the premises of the Instituto Municipal de Asistencia a la Salud Juliano Moreira, former Colonia Juliano Moreira, an institution created during the first half of the 20th century to give shelter to those marginalized as abnormal or undesirable (mentally hadicapped, alcoholics, etc.), being today still home of hundreds of people.

The museum takes care of the 806 works created by Arthur Bispo do Rosário during his psychiatric internment at the institution. In addition to organizing two art exhibitions every year, it maintains - under the patronage of the Instituto Votorantim - a school of visual art (Escuela Libre de Artes Visuales) offering free workshops to students, users of the mental health services, and to the communities in general. [2]


  1. From the short guide of the Biennale de Lyon, France. Curator: Victoria Noorthoorn. See the Presentation by UiU
  2. Press information of the Museum. From the Portuguese: Haupt & Binder

Works by Arthur Bispo do Rosário
exhibited at:

"The Encyclopedic Palace"
Central exhibition of the
55th Venice Biennale

1 June - 24 November 2013

Artistic director: Massimiliano Gioni


Museu Bispo do Rosário Arte Contemporânea

Estrada Rodrigues Caldas, 3400
Edifício Sede
Taquara - Jacarepaguá
22713-375 Rio de Janeiro

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Il Palazzo Enciclopedico. Central exhibition of the 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2013. Artistic director: Massimiliano Gioni. Padiglione Centrale, Giardini, and Arsenale.

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