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Sissi Breda: the form at play

Raphael D’Antona


Sissi Breda is a brazilian artist based in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Graduated from the Institute of Arts of Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Porto Alegre, Brazil) in 2016, she has since been working as an independent artist. As of 2022, she is also a member of the GB Kunst association from Trier, Germany. 

Breda has works in drawing, painting, ceramics, photography and engraving, mostly in small or medium scales. A predominant feature in her poetics, very noticeable in the watercolors and acrylic paintings, is the vibrant coloring that uses the entire spectrum of hues to build a predominantly organic materiality. This is also visible in the shapes, which, dialoguing with abstraction, seem, on the other hand, to mimic organisms at cellular level, suggesting to the observer what could be molecules, beings or figures from primordial elements of the universe. 

In constructing these images, warm and cold hues coexist side by side, a technique that Breda masters with the use of primary colors and their complementary variations. This combination of pure color and organic shape is also revealed in one of her ceramic works, The creature from the other world [Das Wesen von der anderen Welt]. Here, we can see three pieces, one occupying the main place. The chromaticism oscillates between violet and yellow, and the shape seems to be that of an expanding organism, unlike another piece, which presents an organism or a head with forming and dissolving parts. The third piece is white with small dark spots and also seems to materialize an expanding body. The variation in textures reflects different ceramic coloring solutions. 

In Portal Lume, we see again some diverse organic forms which concentrate around a main figure. The influence of artists such as Wassily Kandinsky (1886-1944) is visible in the way Breda occupies the space on the support and also plays with geometric shapes. The central figure has a degree of symmetry and draws our gaze. Colors are mostly cold. The drawing seems to embody a type of marine or alien life. However, in addition to the organic and small scales, the image also makes us think of other possibilities: the immense and the inorganic. It could be the illustration of fractals, quantum or subatomic reactions, just as the universe’s largest objects: stars, planets, clusters of galaxies. 

It is, however, in Hydropower, from the In fieri (2023) series, that this figurations reach a development where the scale growth gives place to a gain in spatiality. Here, two formal tendencies confront each other... or simply coexist? On one side, watery splashes of a turquoise hue expand in an almost tentacular fashion. On the other hand, green geometric shapes make a counterpoint. Small lines and circles seem, here, to contain the violence of the expansion of the other form. Although in direct dialogue with abstraction, Breda’s paintings do suggest figurations. The choice of colors, even in different forms, ends up communicating an idea of cohesion through sensation. 

In a deeper observation of her works, taking into account the larger set, including landscape photographs and paintings of objects and handicrafts, one has the impression that Breda’s production starts from the materiality of what surrounds us to question, through its allusive figurations, the very meaning of reality. Are we anything but stardust? Are we something else than the chemical-physical reactions that take place both inside and outside our bodies? This is how her images make us think of the fundamental forms of the universe, both organic and sidereal. With regards to this formal structure, Breda meets other artists who have a somewhat similar démarche. 


In addition to the previously mentioned Kandinsky, who occupies the screen space with colorful objects that also suggest figures, the organicity and diffusion of some figures gets close, in a certain way, to the production of the also brazilian Claudia Barbisan. The use of colors of opposite hues and the condensation of forms is present in the works of both artists, although Breda shows a softer feature. The repetition of strokes, splashes and spontaneous shapes makes one think of Cy Twombly, in whose works, some groups of figures are more or less repeated in order to make the viewer wonder if the shapes are intentional or not. The three artists walk the fine line between figuration and abstraction. 

Sissi Breda’s creative process remains open. Going towards maturation, the elements present in the different languages of her production seem to integrate the last series of paintings, where they grow and flourish, opening up the possibility of an ever-increasing formal expressiveness in whole and in part. 

Raphael D’Antona is Art Historian and translator. Based in São Paulo, Brazil. 

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